Sunday, August 16, 2020

It's Time to Reimagine Washington State's Role in Public Education

Covid-19 has made it clear that there's a need for a new direction for publicly funded schools in our state.  Our state's drastic decline in revenue means it's time to look at meaningful cuts to educational spending. 

In addition we also need to eliminate or cut the property taxes for thousands of struggling property owners hurt by the Covid-19 pandemic. The additional property tax loss will no doubt compound the loss of the other sources of school funding, but it must be done.

The path of least resistance is to take advantage of online or remote learning using programs run by companies with the expertise to provide the scalability and quality needed for student success.

Local citizen groups have been demanding for school choice for years, these groups are predominantly people of color. These parents want the freedom to use state and federal funds to cover the cost of private, online or home schooling. The main opposition to school choice are teacher union's. 

For more than 10 years teachers have openly lobbied against online education, charter schools and home schools and now in a huge reversal it's teacher's unions that are DEMANDING online education or they will strike. 

Why not give them what they want? 

There are already mature online sources and we should use those online programs and mothball the current public schools until we know how this "pandemic" workouts. Mothballing will preserve funds for other needs and give students an opportunity to experience an already existing robust online experience.

For kids who need monitoring, one or two buildings in each region could be made available and staffed with monitors during normal school hours and days.

Unfortunately we will need to layoff the majority of school staff for 2-3 years and rent out the school buildings while and alternative is designed, what that design will be is still unknown, but we know it won't be anything teacher's unions will support.