It’s Time for Washington to Commit to a 21st Century Education System for the 21st Century Economy

10/9/09

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in the participation rate in bachelors-level and graduate/professional education. The victims, in addition to kids who grow up here, are smaller companies, which must recruit locally.

The competition to attract the best and brightest grows fiercer by the day. Meanwhile, the companies upon which our economy is built are finding it difficult to answer the question, “How are the schools and colleges?” when recruiting the highly-educated workforce they need, because we don’t grow enough of our own here at home.

It is not smart. It is not fair. It is time to act.

It is time to move forward on the design of the new student data system, and to package that data in a way that provides useful feedback to educators and empowers policy makers, school leaders, parents and students with the information they need to force change at the state and local levels.

It is time to make education policy and budget decisions based on data and what we know is right for our students rather than adhering to myths and appeasing entrenched interests.

It is time to totally revamp how we evaluate and compensate teachers.

It is time to make the CORE 24 college prep curriculum the default curriculum—for not just some but all students in all districts across our state.

It is time to look to innovative models such as the TAF Academy in Federal Way and the new Delta High School in the Tri-Cities for fresh approaches to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.

It is time to empower our state to intervene in schools that consistently underperform without showing measurable improvement—before it is too late for another class of kids walking their halls.

It is time to rethink how we operate and fund higher education in our state. It is time to get fighting mad and force the change our kids—and yes, our economy—so desperately need.

Kati Haycock asked us, “The door is open—will you walk all the way through it?”

Washington has its assignment; let us not fail. We invite you to join us as we hone our messages, build a coalition and finally make meaningful change happen for Washington’s students.

Susannah Malarkey is the Executive Director of the Technology Alliance, a statewide organization of leaders from technology businesses and research institutions dedicated to Washington's long-term economic success Follow @

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