Tonight I attended one of the public meetings being held by the WEA, PTA and League of Education Voters (http://www.taketheleadwashington.org/) to talk about Gregoire's education review. As one would expect, the focus of the meeting was class size, increased funding, and a redefinition of basic education that the state is constitutionally required to provide.
The slide show and "questionaire" that was presented at the beginning was completely biased in that direction. The group sessions were geared toward the same conclusions. The spiel by a WEA representative from Mercer Island was more of the same.
I've heard his take before about education issues, and frankly, I have trouble disagreeing with him. Tonight was no different. He gave a five minute talk where he summarized the conclusions of the group he has been working with. (I will need to see the posted review of the session to know which group this is.) The conclusions they have reached are:
1. Fund the things that are proven to work, don't fund the things that are proven not to work.
This is truly a revolutionary thought in education circles. It is thinking like this that could put a dagger in the heart of the WASL. He talked accountability by education bureacrats.
2. Set educational goals.
Lower class size isn't an educational goal. Increased graduation rates is.
3. Teacher compensation needs to be reviewed.
At first this sounded like more of the same, but he came at it from a different angle. He wants to attract high quality teachers, which is kind of an admission that the current system doesn't. He spoke to the low SAT scores of education majors in the last 20 years, and the high correlation of SAT score to IQ. This thought could not be verbalized by a Republican. It takes a Democrat with impecable credentials to be able to say it.
If this had been a Republican, everyone would have tuned it out. I'm not entirely sure that the education establishment present agreed, but he is kind of a rock star in the education world, so it is hard to tell.
A record of the session will be distributed to those who attended. I will share it with you when I receive it.