Letters to the Editor

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EDUCATION: Poor results show need for reform

Letter by Donald J. Fritz, Tacoma on Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:10 am with No Comments »
February 19, 2013 12:34 pm

“Republican ‘reforms’ distract from meaningful education changes” – a Viewpoint (TNT, 2-14) by state Sens. Christine Rolfes and Andy Billig, reflects the view of teacher unions these many years, namely, “We know exactly how to provide good education, and all we need is more money.”

For decades, America has been paying more per student than any other country, but such expenditure has not translated to good education standards. Perhaps our state Republican senators have noticed this disconnect.

I recently read that 24 percent of Washington’s high school student do not graduate. If so, then reform is needed.

Since there isn’t a direct correlation between school expenditure and performance, I wonder how the state Supreme Court arrived at a figure that Washington must spend on education. It might have been more appropriate if the court had mandated a performance standard, for example, 90 percent high school graduation.

Rolfes and Billig refer to an Ohio case in which a reading test “threatens to flunk 10,000 8- and 9-year-olds.” This case proves the point that reform is needed. If those 10,000 kids were attending good schools, few of them would fail. That includes kids from poor homes, as there is ample evidence (mostly from private schools and charters) that good schools can make up for lack of home learning, and do this even by the third or fourth grade.

The only school reform required is that principals and teachers take the “whatever it takes” pledge profiled in a December 2011 News Tribune article on Evergreen Elementary School in Spanaway.

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