Expanding educational opportunity with preparation and training

While a lot of the current McCleary-fueled education discussions focus, appropriately, on K-12 funding, it’s worth applauding evidence of progress in the K-12 and post-secondary systems. Fortunately, there’s some good news to celebrate.

The Seattle Times editorial board cites the expansion of computer-science courses in the city’s public schools. 

Starting next fall, 10 high schools and three middle schools in Seattle will offer computer-science courses ranging from exploratory to Advanced Placement classes.


It’s an attempt to address the skills gap that results in too many unfilled jobs as a result of a mismatch between the skills of prospective employees and the needs of employers. As the Times notes, there’s more work that must be done to increase opportunities for  Washingtonians to compete for and land the great jobs requiring tech training. And not just in the tech industry.

More companies and organizations need workers with technical skills such as government agencies and health-care providers — not just the Microsofts and Amazons of the world.

Washington’s STEM education needs an overhaul, but that starts with expanding effective innovations.

The state’s homegrown students should be taking a much bigger slice of the employment pie.

The Washington State University Tri-Cities campus is one way that opportunity is being expanded, as its chancellor, H. Keith Moo-Young writes in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.

As technology and the use of social media expand and people around the world become more connected, the value of higher education continues to grow.

…WSU Tri-Cities emphasizes the polytechnic “learning while doing” approach in educating students with a focus on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn and Marty Brown, executive director of the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, write in the Seattle Times of the importance of testing and “academic supports” to assure that students graduate from high school career and college ready. They also cite research from the Boston Consulting Group and Washington Roundtable documenting the skills gap

THE outlook for opportunities for highly skilled workers in Washington state is as strong as ever. Currently there are 25,000 unfilled jobs for highly skilled workers — and that number is projected to grow to 50,000 by 2017.

To ensure all students are ready for success and take advantage of these opportunities, Washington’s K-12 learning standards were established. 

…today’s students are entering a globally competitive world requiring more skills and knowledge than ever before. The state’s students need to be prepared before they get to college to reach the end goal of a degree and filling those high-skilled jobs.

Giving students extra academic supports would accelerate their progress into college-level work and greatly increase their likelihood of success in college.

The op-ed should be read in its entirety. There are good things happening in the state’s K-12 and post-secondary system. More should be done; more will be done. But as we continue to promote increased opportunity, it’s important to recognize laudable efforts and the progress that has been made in recent years.