As the November 6th general election draws near, I thought readers might like a chance to see where some local candidates stand on the issue of education. Education has always been a topic of interest on Living Snoqualmie, as well as in the Snoqualmie Valley.
Brad Toft is the first to share some of his views – maybe they will help you decide between him and his opponent. You are welcome to agree or disagree. Leave a comment, but please stick to the issue at hand, not the person.
This article does NOT express the views of Living Snoqualmie. I have NOT endorsed any candidates in this election. Brad’s opponent for Washington’s 5th District Senate seat, Mark Mullet, has also been offered space on Living Snoqualmie to share his position/views on education in our state. I hope to be able to bring you those soon.
Part 1 of a 2 Part Series on Public Education in Washington, by Brad Toft
If we were to start with a blank sheet of paper and draft a plan for a world-class public education system, it’s hard to make the argument that we would construct the school system that exists in Washington State. During this political season, the topic of schools is hotter than ever. Valid arguments are being made for ways to improve the system. Make no mistake, new ideas should be vetted and debated. Something must be done to change the environment in which these discussions are happening.
The Bully On The Playground
There is an obstacle embedded within public education that will not allow for serious discussions to take place. It wasn’t always this way. But if this problem is left unaddressed, necessary school reforms at the state level will not happen. There is a bully on the playground that attacks anyone who calls for school reform. After 30 years of accumulating power, the teachers union has become an obstruction against progress. What’s more, the leadership in the legislature has lost its bearings, showing contempt for the taxpayers who fund the system.
In a new public education system, children and their parents should be the paramount stakeholders. I believe that great teachers make the biggest difference in the quality of a child’s education, which is why the system should be designed to attract the best and brightest professionals. To be clear, however, the end result by which our schools should be measured is children completing their education. They must receive an education that equips them for jobs and prepares them for higher learning. Career satisfaction for teachers should be a major objective, without confusing it as the primary goal of the system. Union leadership has lost its bearings. They show more interest in accumulating power against taxpayers, rather than being a voice for children.
I do not believe a candidate can be credible in suggesting reforms for our schools without first acknowledge the need to stand up to the bullies on the playground.
In part 2 of the series I will identify reforms at the state level that should be priorities for improving our public schools.
Thanks for reading,