Improving and investing in basic education is Washington State PTA’s top priority. The program of basic education is the minimum level of instruction and funding support all children have access to. Investing in basic education is an investment in each and every child.
Today, we have kids in the system who need support … and state funds don’t cover instructional intervention. Not for most kids, anyway. Our funding system doesn’t even acknowledge (let alone accommodate) that it is normal for kids to need extra help from time to time. Or that kids from all income levels can struggle with reading. We have kids who would love to take an integrated STEM course, or “opt up” to an International Baccalaureate program. But we don’t have middle and high schools funded at levels to support a variety of class offerings. Not for all kids.
Technically there is some money for counselors, but it doesn’t pass the blush test when districts have to shuffle the money to cover principal salaries, buses and heat.
This is how far we’ve sunk as a state: We rely on PTSAs to raffle cars to support students. Hats off to innovation and a can-do spirit, but explain how this is stable and equitable?
Here’s what that particular raffle and auction paid for: Read Right intervention program, College Access Now for disadvantaged students, Scholars at Garfield, which mentors African-American students, and the Writers in the Schools program. Science lab and math supplies, library and text books, drama and art resources, and musical instruments.
Pushing costs down to fund-raising has to stop. The state must pay its K-12 bill and it needs to be honest with the public about the price tag. This is not just a class-size issue. This is about access and opportunity. Learning support can’t be funded as an “enhancement.” Because something happens when the state doesn’t fund for actual need: Inequity becomes the norm and kids and communities who most need a leg up get left behind.
Please, ask your legislator to pass HB 2051, a phased-in approach to fully funding basic education. Ask them to commit to a complete plan and show kids that they are serious about them.
TAKE ACTION FOR KIDS.