Education is fundamental to Washington’s prosperity. Top-rate schools attract businesses and prepare our children for success.
Unfortunately, our antiquated, top-down school system is increasingly misaligned with the future challenges young Washingtonian’s will face. Too many students graduate high school without life and job skills needed to succeed. Many others don’t graduate at all.
Good teachers, who provide the greatest value in the classroom, end up overworked and underpaid. Their time is wasted on bureaucratic requirements that crowd out lesson-preparation, and their passion is sapped by standardized-testing mandates that crowd out actual learning time.
Parents, teachers, and taxpayers recognize these problems, so why does the status quo continue? Because politicians and bureaucrats are in charge, not parents and teachers.
To prepare our children for the real world, we need to adopt a modern approach that is proven to work and built to last. This means two things:
Parents, not politicians or bureaucrats, should be in charge of the education dollars spent on their children.
Teachers need to be liberated from the politicized, bureaucratic status quo and rewarded for the educational value (i.e., student learning) they create.
To accomplish these twin goals, I propose:
- Maximizing school choice through:
- A universal system of tax credits and school vouchers,
- Expansion of charter schools via “parental triggers”, and
- Public-school matching programs.
- Ending education fads:
- Demand actual learning and eliminate SOLs entirely,
- Reward quality instruction not credentials and seniority, and
- Pursue cost-effective solutions supported by teachers, not wasteful spending prefered by politicians.
- Deregulating private schools, and public-school reform of:
- Licensing/certification rules,
- Accreditation requirements,
- State mandates,
- Local school-board powers, and
- the State Board of Education itself.
- Fostering, in every aspect of education policy, an open and competitive market for education services.