Issues

Building A Better Future For Every Child

As governor, I will rebuild our public education system where we are currently falling short and expand on those things that we’re doing right.  This is a plan based on data and evidence of what works, not on ideology. Download the full plan.

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In January of this year, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Olympia is failing to meet the paramount duty of the state: amply providing for the basic, equitable education of all our kids. 

We are not meeting the high expectations we have or that our kids deserve. Our high school on-time graduation rate is 75%; those that do not graduate will on average earn 73% less than their peers.  Washington State ranks first in the concentration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs, but we rank forty-sixth when it comes to participation in science and engineering graduate programs.  This opportunity gap is hurting our economy and holding our state back.  Too many of our students leave high school unprepared to get the advanced skills training they will need to fill the workforce demands of our growing innovation economy. 

We must immediately put our state on a trajectory to reverse the trend of cutting education budgets and live up to our fundamental obligation to our state's children by the court-imposed deadline of 2018.

As governor, I will rebuild our public education system. I have a plan to increase our focus on STEM education, expand our proven early childhood education system, encourage and create more innovative schools, improve our students’ access to post-secondary education, and encourage continuous improvement of our teachers and administrators including teacher evaluation reform. 

My vision for 2020 is that:

  • All students graduate from high school prepared with 21st century skills.
  • Achievement and opportunity gaps among students are eliminated.
  • All Washington students will have access to post-secondary education or training to pursue the career of her or his choice.

Here are some highlights from my plan on how we will achieve these goals:

  • Institute a competitive grant system, called the Innovative Schools Initiative, to spur more innovation in science and arts programs. Partner with the private sector, communities, and research institutions and utilize programs such as the STEM Lighthouse program to help guide more schools toward this goal
  • Invest in early learning opportunities and access for more children.  No other investment in our education system will have such a profound effect on our state’s academic success than these programs and services.
  • Recruit more teachers who reflect the cultural diversity in our school.
  • Expand our corps of dropout coaches, counselors and community outreach personnel in our most high-need school districts.  These faculty members visit homes, speak multiple languages, re-engage struggling students and their families and significantly increase a student’s chance of returning to school and earning their diploma.
  • Help every student develop a career plan that includes the coursework, internships, apprenticeships, college visits, enrichment programs and courses to achieve it, beginning in middle school
  • Partner with local businesses, colleges, universities and communities to increase professional development that results in increased student success in math and science.

Even with scarce resources, I will put forth a no-excuses policy for excellence in our schools while ensuring that our schools are once again the state’s first priority for new revenue from our growing economy. It will take all of us – teachers, administrators, students, parents, and community and business leaders – to build a better future for our children and our state. 

We can and must move forward with policies that demonstrate proven results while generating the resources necessary for success. Our kids cannot afford us kicking this can down the road any longer. Their future and the future of our state depend upon it.

Download the full plan