Time to put kids first in education

Dear Editor,

We are writing to you to let our community know our concerns with the way our legislature is handling education related issues. Here is an outline of our concerns:

It is time to put kids first! We, the educators of Oroville School District, while deciding not to walk out, feel strongly that our legislators need to hear our cry! In many ways, our school system is being attacked and our students are the ones who will lose. We want reliable, predictable and sustainable school funding, the focus on students, and the education profession protected, strengthened, and respected.

School funding is always on the chopping block. If it is understood that full funding for comprehensive basic education, thereby meeting the needs of all students (including funding appropriate staffing levels) is paramount, staffing levels would be stable and students would receive the needed help they deserve. Court mandated state support requires full funding for basic education. The local community, in the absence of the legislature providing this funding, has to pick up the funding difference.

Our community is paying a big bill to assure class sizes are small. The state should be providing this. Voters passed the initiative 1351 to ensure that students have more access to individual support and educational resources by providing manageable workloads and smaller class sizes.

Lessen the high-stakes nature of state standardized tests. Reduce the number of standardized tests. Every student deserves the right to a high quality public education. Meeting the needs of all students and providing an opportunity for success is first and foremost. Please understand that we serve a diverse population with a wide range of needs. The opportunities for success can be different things for different students. You can’t measure every student’s success in the same way. Our students are being insufferably over-tested! Testing is getting in the way of student learning! A teacher can not teach when testing all the time.

We are losing quality educators. Our new teachers are leaving the profession. They are expected to meet so many professional requirements. They pay out money for fees as well as spend more personal/unpaid time to keep their certification. They can’t live off their wages and pay back education loans. Our experienced well trained teachers are not staying because they can leave the hassles of this profession and find better work elsewhere. Now the State of Washington can’t find enough teachers. The word is out: “Don’t go into education. It isn’t worth it!” Only those educators who are positioned in the middle of their career will continue teaching with so much pressure in the work environment, unrealistic expectations, overburdened workloads, in addition to unreasonable educator costs for professional growth opportunities and certification requirements.

It is time to put our students first! Please advise your legislators of your concerns on these issues: Senator Brian Dansel: brian.dansel@leg.wa.gov, 115B Irv Newhouse Building,

P.O. Box 40412, Olympia, WA 98504.

Rep. Joel Kretz: joel.kretz@leg.wa.gov, 335A Legislative Building, PO Box 40600, Olympia, WA 98504-0600.

Rep. Shelly Short: shelly.short@leg.wa.gov, 427A Legislative Building, PO Box 40600,

Olympia, WA 98504-0600.


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