I found the Seattle Times Sunday editorial on education funding in the state interesting. It calls for additional funding aligned with identifying key priorities.
Both gubernatorial candidates are also calling for additional funding to meet the court demands. They also say that they can do this without raising taxes, something that I have commented about in previous posts. The editorial does not take a position on the tax issue, instead waiting for a Joint Task Force on Education Funding to present their options.
The editorial does however, call for legislators to identify priorities before providing additional funding.
The conversation about money rightly begins with a conversation about education goals. Outcomes cannot be divorced from the resources used to pay for them. Credible strategies for addressing kindergarten readiness, high school dropout rates and college/career preparation should top the list of priorities.
I don’t disagree with the need to identify priorities and those in the paragraph above are certainly important considerations, as are preparing for and implementing practices that ensure teachers and students meet the challenges in the mandated common core initiative. I want to be held accountable to meeting the needs of our young people and adults, but I also want for us a period of time with no new mandates or accountability targets.
The demand is high enough, we need high support to balance that demand. Support may include additional funding, but it must also include a period of time with no new mandates. Common core, new teacher and principal evaluation systems, and goals embedded in the NCLB waiver requirements are all mandates from outside the system. Yes, we need additional funding to meet the demands that are already placed upon us, but adding additional goals does not make sense for our school system at this time.