U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has weighed in on our state’s conversation about how to build a more student-focused education system, first in a March 8 opinion piece in the Seattle Times and again today during a teleconference education roundtable with Governor Chris Gregoire and education leaders in the Washington Legislature.
Watch today’s education roundtable below.
The Governor has proposed a single state Department of Education to coordinate early learning, K-12 and higher education.
The bill currently being considered is SB 5639. The House has passed a bill, HB 1849, which would study the issue.
“To me, it’s just really encouraging that we’re putting these tough issues on the table and having thoughtful conversations about them,” Duncan said. “The more courage we can show in making these decisions—our children and ultimately our country desperately need our leadership now more than ever.”
Legislators visited the issue of early learning as a smart investment during the conversation. Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, asked Duncan how states can protect early learning in tough budget times.
“If we’re serious about getting educators at every level out of the remediation business, that means we have to have a lot more children enter kindergarten ready to learn and ready to read, with literacy and socialization skills intact,” Duncan replied.