This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
From its beginning, University Place has been a city with the heart of a classroom. The community – once very affluent and very white – revolves around its exceptional school district.
The district is no longer as affluent as it was 20 or 30 years ago, but its heartbeat is stronger than ever. Many of Washington’s school districts would do well to study its achievements.
Leadership is everything. Much of the credit goes to Superintendent Patti Banks and the strong school boards she has worked for. The Washington Association of School Administrators recently honored Banks as the state’s Superintendent of the Year. That’s a considerable distinction, considering that there are 295 school districts in the state.
The honor is justified by what University Place has accomplished on her watch.
Americans have been wringing their hands for decades over the achievement gap between white and Asian students on one side, and black and Latino students on the other.
A close look at the numbers shows that in many communities, this gap boils down to a socioeconomic divide – middle class students routinely outperform poor students. Too many kids – by accident of birth – start life with the odds against them, and too many schools don’t do much to improve those odds.
Over the last 12 years, University Place has shattered that paradigm.
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