I have a dirty little secret that likely disgusts the Seattle Times editorial board as much as it nauseates me: I sometimes agree with them.
Take today’s editorial in support of newly appointed Seattle School Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson, simply titled “Give the supe a chance.”
Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more.
Though, if we really want to give Goodloe-Johnson every chance to succeed, we need to give her the tools to succeed as well, and that means giving her (and every school superintendent) adequate funding to teach our children.
How much extra money are we talking about? PTSAs at some of the most sought after public schools within Seattle and its surrounding suburbs raise about $1000 per student to pay for essentials like smaller class size, classroom assistants, art, music, PE, tutoring and other enrichment programs. And rarely do they raise much more than that, no matter how well-heeled the parents. It seems to me that the market has spoken — our wealthiest and most demanding consumers of public education have determined that we’re spending about $1000 less per student than necessary. Don’t all public school children deserve the same opportunity as theirs?
$1000 per student. About a billion dollars more a year. Roughly a 10-percent increase in state K-12 education spending. A thousand bucks extra per student plugged straight into the classroom, where each school can determine how to spend that money best. Just the way it works at the public schools in our wealthiest neighborhoods.
And so I am asking the Times to join me in leveraging what influence we have, to give Goodloe-Johnson the one tool she can’t possibly bring to her new job: adequate funding. Public opinion and politicians are influenced by editorials — the Times knows this — thus if the editors at our state’s largest newspaper truly want to give Goodloe-Johnson the chance to succeed, it is incumbent upon them to use the full force of their soapbox to relentlessly persuade the Legislature to fulfill its paramount duty to the children of our state.
No, money isn’t the only solution, but it is certainly part of it. And perhaps if the Times had devoted as much talent and energy to increasing spending on education as it has devoted to cutting taxes on millionaires, Goodloe-Johnson’s challenge wouldn’t be as daunting as it now seems.