Wouldn't you think that Washington state - home to Microsoft, Amazon and any number of other cutting-edge start-ups, would focus on producing rock star math, science and engineering students? How about making sure they can compete in other basic areas, say...reading? It would make sense to home-grow those high tech gurus, right?
Sadly, that's not exactly what's happening around here. According to the League of Education Voters (LEV), the latest 2011 Citizen's Report Card on Washington State Education is dismal. Our reading scores have "flatlined," they report. What's more, we're near the bottom of national rankings for those going to college, and our high school graduation rates fall in the bottom third.
But wait, there's more!
Washington ranks 41st in the nation for eighth graders taking algebra - just 24% of eighth graders took algebra in 2009.
Almost half of all recent high school grads enrolled in remedial math courses at community and technical colleges in 2008-9, up from 45% in 2006-7.
Although 10th grade science scores have improved on the state science exam, less than half the students passed.
"Our state is doing a mediocre job of preparing students for college and the job market," reports LEV. "Our students need help from parents, educators and school advocates to hold our lawmakers accountable to their number one priority."
LEV, not leaving it at that, is grading the state for the job it's doing educating its students. Washington gets a disappointing (and depressing) C-.