Since the 1800s the public education system has been teaching the ideals of our American experiment, encouraging our youth to tackle the tough social, political, and economic issues of the time. Sadly, this cornerstone of our republic is under attack.
The media labels public education as a failure, despite the highest graduation rates since the 1970s. Legislators blame teachers for wanting wages that stay up with inflation, yet they accept an 11 percent pay raise. Testing companies convince our policy makers that education reform must be test-centered, so they can create more tests, and pad their profit margin.
Recently, many have decided to take a stand by holding rallies to challenge the direction of public education. They are tired of students being tested to the point that they no longer love learning. They are tired of seeing cuts to the arts and humanities, and other “non-tested” areas, so that more money can be diverted to “tested” subjects. They are tired of educators being blamed for society’s ills, while the Legislature refuses to address the socio-economic issues that complicate efforts to educate our children.
Washington needs political leaders who value the difficult work educators do everyday. We need leaders who believe in educating the whole person, and developing innovative citizens who are ready to meet the dynamic challenges of the 21st century. We need leaders who have the political will to invest in our future by supporting increased funding for public education. Our democratic society depends on it.