LEV's 2013 Citizens' Report Card highlights Auburn as bright spot, shows mediocre progress statewide

Chris Korsmo - Courtesy photo
Chris Korsmo
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The League of Education Voters 2013 Citizens' Report Cord highlights Auburn School District's early learning programs as a bright spot, despite on overall lock of progress toward creating excellent schools for all students.

The biennial report card, which was released this week, highlights the school district's success in improving third-grade reading scores through a commitment to early learning programs.

"This district's success is a bright spot for Washington," said Chris Korsmo, LEV CEO. "Their innovation and dedication to helping students reach their potential should be a model for schools across the state."

Auburn's success in raising reading scores and closing achievement gaps has earned its schools many accolades, including the John D. Warner Award for Educational Excellence and the National Title I, Part A Academic Achievement Awards.

While the report showcases individual school and districts like Auburn for their progress, overall progress has stagnated or reversed. The report shows that Washington state is not making progress toward creating excellent schools for all students, earning a C or lower in all data categories analyzed.

"This report shows the huge amount of work that still needs to be done for our state's students," Korsmo said. "We must use these facts as fuel. Bold, systemic change is not easy, but the alternative-doing nothing to improve our education and funding systems-will be much harder for all of us in the long run."

The analysis of more than 32 indicators across five categories of data shows that only one category – Early Learning – maintained its progress from previous reports, while four-STEM, Meaningful High School Diploma, Success After Graduation, and Funding & Accountability – all got lower grades than in previous years.Particularly alarming is the D+ grade Washington received for funding its schools.

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.

"If we are committed to ensuring the best education for every student in our state, we have to make investments that reflect our commitment," Korsmo said. "That means the state must provide ample, eqUitable, stable funding for education."

The 2013 Citizens' Report Card found that:

• 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.

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