Opinion: My recent debate shows why Washington families need school choice to catch up with the rest of the nation

Liv Finne of the Washington Policy Center hopes the new legislature can catch up and provide a real ‘System of Support’ that families can use to access high-quality education services.
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Liv Finne of the Washington Policy Center hopes the new legislature can catch up and provide a real ‘System of Support’ that families can use to access high-quality education services

Liv Finne
Washington Policy Center

Last week I participated in a live online debate with Tim Garchow, executive director of the Washington State School Directors Association.  We were asked to debate the question: “What does it mean to have local control over educational decisions in Washington state?”

Liv Finne
Liv Finne

Local control describes the current system of electing school board directors to govern the schools in each one of the 295 school districts in Washington state.  Our discussion was ably moderated by Elizabeth Van Clark of the Columbia Basin Badger Club in Pasco, Washington, and is available here.  

In my remarks I pointed out parents have little to no control under this monopoly system of local control.  Mr. Garchow took the opposite position, describing ways parents can ask for help from the schools, citing Multiple Systems of Support (MSS).  Sure, parents can ask for help, but they have little recourse if district officials ignore their concerns.

In addition, our discussion ranged from the damaging effects of closing school for nearly two years during COVID, The Seattle Times editorial asking why school officials have spent only 9% of federal COVID relief funds on individual tutoring, plummeting test scores and other negative effects of closing schools for so long.

I concluded that to increase parental control in Washington state, lawmakers should follow the example of 32 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and allow more learning choices. Arizona has just passed a law making $7,000 available to every family who wants it, for the purpose of hiring tutors, buying textbooks, homeschooling, or paying private school tuition. These learning-choice programs place control of education squarely at the kitchen table, with Mom and Dad making these crucial decisions, not with some distant unnamed government office.

Public education is filled with happy-sounding buzz words like “local control,” “community empowerment,” “parental involvement” and “Multiple Systems of Support.”  Sure, government people love them, but these terms mean nothing to families faced with the hard problems involved in educating and raising children.

Earlier this year Washington was poised to join other states when HB 1633, a bill to provide $10,000 or so to families who request it, was introduced.  Hardliners in the legislature killed it.

A new legislature is going to meet in January.  Maybe with some fresh faces and fresh thinking our state can catch up and provide a real “System of Support” (i.e. cash) that families can use to access high-quality education services.

Liv Finne is the director of the Center for Education at the Washington Policy Center.


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Carol
Carol
25 days ago

Top cardiologist links ‘sudden deaths’ to COVID vaccinePosted by ClarkCountyToday.com
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Date: Tuesday, November 8, 2022
Go to the Covid-19 section of this online news. Knowing these killer jabs are part of the school’s vaccine list, is enough reason to leave public schools and do home schooling.

Rubicon
Rubicon
24 days ago

As retired educators who worked in public schools, we seasoned pros learned one basic Fact: the students (from poor, middle class, or wealthy families) who profited most from education were parents who highly valued Knowledge and Learning and shared with their children, every night, with reading and discussing advanced history, literature, science, math and foreign languages. It’s the family setting that is sadly missing with distractions of Big Tech, Movies, and sports events. There is nothing that can replacet genuine learning which starts, first and foremost with the parents.

Crazy
Crazy
24 days ago
Reply to  Rubicon

So true. I’ve never worried about what my kids learn at school because I engage them every day about what they learn and discuss it with them. Some times they come home with ideas, concepts or beliefs that I disagree with but instead of complaining about the school system I engage them. Parents that feel they don’t have control are really looking for schools that will simply teach their belief system so they can opt out of having to actually parent.

Carol
Carol
23 days ago

I just got a report from the Battleground school district on the students performance records. The kids are failing in math and reading. Don’t teachers have masters degrees to teach? What a joke, these teachers are failing in their chosen profession! They not only don’t know how to teach, they are teaching garbage most parents don’t what their children to know! This is exactly why we need choice for educating all students in WA. Public schools are NOT the answer. I pay over three thousand on my property taxes for incompetent teachers, in failing schools. The toxic jabs on the school schedules has made many kids autistic. Schools get more money for the handicap students.

CA has a franchise called Genius Kids. This is a preschool which teaches so well the 4 year old’s can read at a second grade level, before kindergarten. My sister worked there. I taught dancing to the kids for their spring performance. Their teachers did not have master degrees! The woman who owns the schools has a patent on the method they use to teach. WA schools should check it out.

Our schools are designed to fail. Get involved in your child’s education. Even if you don’t have children or they are grown, still get involved in school board meetings. We need smart people to run this nation, smart workers, people who are knowledgeable in their fields of expertise with good morals, values and who are ethical. If the public schools are dissolved for lack of attendance, they can be taken over by companies that believe in education. Millbrae High School, in CA sold a portion of their rebuilt high school for Chinese speakers and accelerated learners.

Private schools are the way to go!

The public should be angry about the education of our children. Go to school board meetings. Recall or vote out bad school board representatives. Contact your legislators for learning choices.

Liv Finne said, “WA state, lawmakers should follow the example of 32 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico and allow more learning choices. Arizona has just passed a law making $7,000 available to every family who wants it, for the purpose of hiring tutors, buying textbooks, homeschooling, or paying private school tuition.” 

 Private schools look the best to me! If you take money from the sate to homeschool, they still have control of the garbage you are suppose to teach at home.

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