Gov. Chris Gregoire recently submitted an education reform proposal to the Legislature anticipating further job reductions and unification of the state’s complex education system.
There are currently eight agencies and 14 different plans that Gregoire is determined to consolidate.
“If students are going to succeed as they progress from early learning through higher education, then every level of education must work together from pre-school on up,” Gregoire said. “We must reduce the gaps in math and science education, so every student arrives ready to excel on the first day of class.”
Gregoire is pioneering the education reform because no one else is. Many believe reorganizing the Department of Education is not her job and that other elected officials should deal with this section of government. Gregoire’s response is that she is the one being blamed for the gaps in the educational system, and she needs to take care of it.
Gregoire believes that the differences in layouts from school to school being so grand in their demands, that they are responsible for a high number of students slipping through the cracks of the system.
Education reform is her answer to creating a supportive and more efficient structure for Washington education.
If a child needs to be removed from his or her home temporarily and placed into foster care, the child must attend a different school. This transition from his or her home to foster care to another family member’s home is detrimental to a child’s future.
Once the child is finally settled, he or she has moved through three schools in a short period of time and is potentially either behind and lost, or too far ahead of the current school’s curriculum.
Gregoire believes that a united education system from grades K-12 as well as including higher education, will not only benefit the children but will also save money for the state budget.
One controversial cut in the Deptartment of Education’s funding is the responsibility of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, an elected position held by Randy Dorn. This cut must be approved by voters, but the plan works regardless of this decision.
A hired position is proposed for a Secretary of Education, to develop policies and guide future services and education planning to oversee the reform process.
If the SoPI remains in office, Dorn’s position will collaborate with the SoE. The alternate option is to vote against the state position and eliminate it all together.
“Whatever choice is made, a unified Department of Education, will better prepare students to succeed in school and life,” Gregoire said.
With any change comes adjustments and opposition. One claim is that if Dorn’s position is cut, the government will have too much power in the education department because Dorn represents the voter’s rights. On the other hand, Gregoire said it’s a necessary budget cut that is no longer needed.
Gregoire began this process of education reform in the summer of 2005. She anticipates the reformed DoE to open doors July 1, 2012.
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