Letter: Washington is failing to educate its people

April 5, 2013 

Education is the door to opportunity. Today the United States has less equality of opportunity than almost any other advanced industrial country. The gutting of government support for state schools at a time when an education is essential to a robust economy that can compete globally has widened the gap between rich and poor.

Washington state's higher education system was ranked as the eighth worst in the nation, measured by the depth of financing cuts down 22.4 percent from 2008 to 2013 according to figures from the Illinois State University's Center for the Study of Education Policy. Those of modest means are left with poor prospect to get ahead, or with student loans so burdensome that are almost impossible to discharge.

The recent Washington Supreme Court ruling that a supermajority vote is unconstitutional opens the door for the state legislature to meet its obligation to adequately fund education by increasing revenues. Legislation to provide additional educational funding by blocking teacher cost-of-living raises and shortening the amount of time low-income families can get assistance, putting families at risk of going without food, without asking anything from those at the top who benefited the most from the politics of inequality is unconscionable.

MICKEY BEARY, Richland

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