More money needed for education? Who knows?
Evergreen Freedom Foundation
Olympia, WA - 1/14/03 - On Tuesday, January 14, the Washington Education
Association and potentially
thousands of teachers and school personnel will march at the Capitol
Olympia to ask lawmakers for increased public school funding. We agree
them that an excellent education is one of the most important tools
needs to become an independent and productive adult.
But before state officials consider allocating more money for K-12
(which currently accounts for nearly half of the state’s general fund
budget), they should think about these important facts and questions:
++ According to the standards developed by our state’s Office of the
Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), 97 percent of Washington’s
schools are “failing” under the new federal No Child Left Behind
legislation. Now OSPI is considering revising the scoring system so
percent of the state’s schools will be considered failing.
++ Only 68 percent of Washington’s high school students graduate.
minorities, the graduation rate is 50 percent.
++ More than half (51 percent) of the students who do graduate from
high school in our state and attend a community or technical college
enroll in remedial reading, writing or math courses to prepare them
++ Washington has three transitional bilingual courses. Fewer than
percent of the students enrolled complete the transition successfully.
++ Washington spent $8,648 per public school student in 2000-01 (the
numbers available). Of that amount, only $3,881-less than half-was
what the state defines as Basic Education.
++ The state dedicates hundreds of millions of dollars to class size
reduction, yet many teachers have overcrowded classrooms. Why? Where
money and why isn’t it being used to reduce class sizes? What is the
class size in Washington? So far, no one can answer those questions.
++ There are 150,500 K-12 employees and 1,101,167 students in Washington’s
public schools. That means there is one K-12 employee for every 6.7
++ There are 58,919 certificated classroom teachers in Washington.
means there is one teacher in the classroom for every 17.1 students.
addition, there are 3,824 certificated staff who work in administrative
++ In total, 62,743 certificated employees and 87,757 “other” employees
in Washington’s K-12 system. What do all of these “other” employees
how important are these jobs compared to classroom teachers?
++ The average teacher salary in Washington state is $43,480 according
OSPI. When benefits and supplemental contracts are factored in, the
teacher receives total compensation of more than $57,500. The state’s
salary structure prohibits excellent teachers from earning more and
mediocre teachers too much. The WEA is one of the major proponents
++ Superintendent of Public Instruction Terri Bergeson calls Governor
s proposed budget for education “devastating.” Yet Bergeson refused
comply with the governor’s request that all state agencies evaluate
prioritize their activities within their budgets. Her office failed
submit a recommended budget for the state’s $1.1 billion special education
program, and even after a JLARC audit uncovered serious accountability
problems with special education funding last year, Bergeson did not
the audit hearing and failed to follow up on the audit.