February 26, 2013 Issue No. 3
             Excellent Schools Now Newsletter

Learn more about ESN
2013 Policy Priorities  

Connecting Education Spending to Student Learning
The Executive Directors of the League of Education Voters, Partnership for Learning, and Stand for Children - Washington write an opinion piece on linking school funding and student learning. 

Excellent Schools Now Releases 2013 Polling Data

The Excellent Schools Now (ESN) coalition unveiled its annual public polling data Tuesday that showed a majority of voters and teachers believe public education results aren’t good enough to help grow the economy and to remain competitive in the global workplace.

ESN, which released the widely endorsed A+ Washington plan in 2012, surveyed 500 voters and 500 teachers in late 2012/early 2013 to gain feedback on the general health of Washington’s public education system and the coalition’s 2013 policy priorities.

“From the President to our governor to business leaders to educators, we know that improvements in student learning will facilitate economic growth and individual opportunity,” said Jana Carlisle, executive director of Partnership for Learning. “Our students must be better prepared for life after high school, whether they go directly to college or work, and for the quality jobs that our employers have to offer.”
ESN held its annual legislative luncheon today in Olympia to discuss how K-12 education funding should be aligned with student outcomes and school accountability. That way, said Shannon Campion, executive director of Stand for Children Washington, the public can better assess how K-12 dollars are being spent.

“Clear, easy-to-understand information is the key to accountability and smarter decision-making,” Campion said. “We have an opportunity right now to reconnect education funding with student achievement and outcomes. With better data, smarter funding and stronger achievement, we can prepare more students for college, career and the future ahead.”

Some key findings in the ESN polling data include:
  • 69% of voters and 63% of teachers agree financial and student performance data should be linked and made available to the public.
  • 82% of voters agree that data should also be used to determine which schools are not serving students well. Nearly half (47%) of teachers agree.
  • 44% of voters agree Washington’s K-12 public education system is headed in the right direction; 63% of teachers agree.
  • 77% of voters and 60% of teachers disagree that public education results are good enough for students to compete in the global workplace and help grow the U.S. economy.
  • About 90% of voters and 80% of teachers agree students should have to pass math, English-language arts and science exams in high school in order to graduate.

“The polling numbers show that most voters and teachers agree that significant changes are needed to our K-12 education system to better prepare our students for college and work,” said Chris Korsmo, chief executive officer of the League of Education Voters. “When our state legislature lives up to its duty to fully fund basic education, we need to know whether those new dollars, along with current ones, are increasing student learning.”

The Excellent Schools Now (ESN) coalition includes nearly 40 education, business, and community-based organizations across Washington state working to achieve meaningful education reform that increases student achievement.
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