Our public education system is failing


One of the most important gifts we can provide our children and community is a quality education so they can become productive members for themselves and society. As Mary Lindquist, President Washington Education Association (WEA), said recently… “It takes a team of educators, parents, community members, and lawmakers focused on doing their share to fulfill the state’s paramount duty.” Well, then how is our government meeting our Constitutions’ Article IX, paramount duty?

My last letter to the editor focused on our nations’ standing, and the amount of educational funds we are expending: The United States is ranked 22nd over-all and an average of $8,800 per student, the highest in the world. Spending has tripled in the past 40 years, yet test scores have declined or remained the same.

Here is our local report card, from two sources the government (state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction); and an Independent group, the Fraser Institute.

Here is data from OSPI grades 3-10, and Fraser Institute yrs grades 3-10. A perfect score in the OSPI data is represented as 100 percent. A perfect score in the Fraser data is a 10.

The Fraser Institute overall ratings were: Raymond 5.8, South Bend 4.4, and Willapa 4.3. OSPI doesn’t have an overall school rating, but evaluates reading, writing, math, and science separately. Taking the average of all these: Raymond 55.5 percent, South Bend 60 percent, and Willapa 57.75 percent. The states average: 61 percent.

Dollars per student: Raymond $9,587, South Bend, $9,754, Willapa $13,782, and State $12,714. For complete details see the OSPI and Fraser Institute reports.

It should be perfectly clear that throwing more money at education is just not working.

Bottom line our schools are failing our kids. No wonder we are losing our leadership role in the world. Our children’s letter grade in math and science is an “F.” They need better than this in a technology driven world. There is no question that the state teachers union driven education system has failed. The Washington Education Association is focused in the 19th century, not the 21st. There are new educational approaches of blended or hybrid systems using classrooms in combination with digital and internet tools that focus on the students’ achievement as the prime objective, not union rules. Private, charter, home schools need to be given a larger opportunity in educating our children. A recent study by Freedom Foundation/Fraser Institute, found 58 percent of Washington residents preferred alternative schools to the Washington Education Association-driven public education, and the majority believe spending is too high.

We are paying a premium price, but getting mediocre results. Our children, grandchildren, and nation are the losers in this WEA driven ponzi scheme.

Ron Craig

South Bend