Education has been in the news a lot lately.
Yesterday, Seattle voters once again granted supplemental funding for our public schools by overwhelmingly approving two School District levies. The continued generosity of this city amazes me.
You might have also read about a court case regarding State funding for education. A King County Superior Court ruling last week eloquently articulated the importance of a good educational system: educated citizens are crucial to a healthy democracy, a robust economy, a fair justice system and a strong pluralistic and equitable society. In essence, everything we strive for here in City Hall starts with education.
The legal judgment of the Superior Court ruling is interesting. Article 9 of our state Constitution states, “It is the paramount duty of the State to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.” Washington is special in this regard – no other State Constitution says education is the State’s number one obligation.
The Court found that, despite some progress, the State “remains out of compliance” with this Constitutional obligation. Now, the State legislature must work harder to find and implement a consistent and ample source of funding for education.
The City’s Role
But, I believe, the City also has a very important role to play. We must be a strong partner with the Seattle School District, encouraging and providing accountability for their efforts. And we have our own work to do. As Chair of the Council’s Public Safety and Education Committee, I am engaged in the early stages of planning for renewal of the Families and Education Levy, still two years away.