PASCO -- Education was at the top of constituents' minds at a town hall meeting with 16th District Reps. Maureen Walsh and Terry Nealey in Pasco on Friday night.
Most of the people in the audience of about two dozen appeared to be teachers or connected to school districts, with several people wearing red Washington Education Association T-shirts.
They talked about the inability to teach anything that isn't on standardized tests such as the Washington Assessment of Student Learning.
Nealey, R-Dayton, said the House Republican Caucus is concerned about the public education system in the state and wants to see education funding protected, but also wants to see more accountability from school districts, principals and teachers.
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Educators in the audience agreed that accountability is important, but balked at a bill that proposes to tie teacher evaluations to student test scores, arguing that test scores are dependent on a variety of factors -- some of which teachers can't control, and yet their livelihoods would be at stake.
A consistent message from audience members was that it has been increasing government mandates on teaching over the past couple of decades that have worsened the public education system.
Walsh, R-Walla Walla, and Nealey said the meeting gave them food for thought as they return to Olympia on Monday to continue the legislative session.
The session is set to end March 8.