At my kids’ school, the third through fifth grades have no playground equipment. How come? Seattle Public Schools tore it up and put a portable in its place, that’s how come. In theory, funds from Seattle Parks and Recreation, combined with funds from our PTA, will put in new equipment — but if the district adds another portable, all bets are off.
My kids used to get bus service to school, because their walking route includes crossing a dangerous state highway. Not any more. That’s been cut.
There’s a substitute shortage, meaning that some days kids show up to school and there is no teacher for them. Yes, really.
New housing is going up in my neighborhood, in preparation for light rail, but no new schools are being planned.
Our schools need funding so badly that the Washington State Supreme Court is currently holding the legislature in contempt of court and will consider sanctions if adequate funding does not arrive by the end of the 2015 session.
Meanwhile, though, the legislature is talking about suspending an initiative Washington State citizens recently passed to reduce class sizes. Why? They don’t want to do what it takes to fund it.
Oh yes, and the legislature has also given our schools an unfunded mandate to administer expensive, labor-intensive, and time-consuming tests.
What’s it going to take? Seriously?
At a minimum, we need a reality check on the scope of the problem. Here are three charts from the website Network for Excellence in Washington Schools — the group that brought the lawsuit to the legislature and is monitoring and reporting on it. They are from the group’s 2014 report to members.