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Jerry Cornfield | jcornfield@heraldnet.com
Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 10:41 a.m.

Reform group gives lawmakers D+ on school funding

When it comes to improving the achievement of students in public schools, Washington lawmakers aren't making the grade.

And when it comes to funding the system they are nearly flunking.

That's according to a report card issued today by the League of Education Voters, a Seattle-based group which is pushing for school funding and classroom reforms.

LEV graded lawmakers on how well they did in five areas compared to their performance in those same areas two years ago.

They earned their highest grade, C, in the area of early learning programs. They earned their worst, D+, in funding.

"In many measures of funding – including public effort and per pupil spending—Washington ranked well below other states and the national average, meaning Washington's students have less support than their peers across the nation," according to a LEV press release.

Here is a summary of the findings in the report card:

-54 percent (24,412) of low-income children eligible for existing preschool programs are not being served.

-More than half (51 percent) of all recent high school graduates had to enroll in remedial math courses at community and technical colleges in 2009-10.

-Washington is ranked 37th in the nation for on-time graduation rates, and large gaps in graduation rates between white and Asian students and African American, Latino, Native American, and Pacific Islander students persist.

-At the same time post-secondary education becomes increasingly important, costs for higher education are rising. The number of student loans taken out by Washington residents increased by 50 percent from the 2011 Citizens' Report Card.

-Washington ranked 49th in public effort for school funding relative to individual income, spending only $35.07 per $1,000 of personal income on education. The national average is $43.43.

Story tags » Education & SchoolsGovernmentPoliticsState

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