This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.
Here’s another pin to stick in the balloon of complacency about Washington’s education system.
The Seattle Times has unearthed an exceptionally disturbing trend: This state isn’t merely failing to provide enough college opportunity to its children. It is actually slipping backward – providing less than it did 20 years ago.
One important indicator is the percentage of students who enroll full time in either a two- or four-year college immediately after graduating from high school.
In 1992, the Times reported Sunday, 58 percent of Washington high schoolers went straight into higher education, well above the national average of 54 percent. Our rank: 11th in the nation.
As of 2008, though, the national average had risen to 63 percent – but Washington’s rate of immediate college-going had fallen to 51 percent. Our rank: 46th in the nation.
These numbers might seem to contradict Washington’s generally strong education statistics. Our state’s tech industries, especially, abound in people with bachelor’s and graduate degrees.
But there’s no contradiction. As we have often noted, many of Washington’s largest and most profitable companies – Microsoft, for example – often have to look to other states, even other countries, when recruiting well-educated professionals.
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