Today in the United States, the quality of education a child receives is still based - in large part - on luck. Where a child is born and enrolls in school can, and often does, predict the level of access they will have to quality schools and teachers. This dynamic disproportionately affects low-income and students of color. The original idea of public education held to the promise that every child would receive an equitable chance to learn and succeed in life. When only 77% of Washington students graduate from high school, we are not fulfilling that promise. Many of our younger students aren’t proficient in reading, math, and basic skills. In many states, more than half of our college-bound seniors aren’t ready for college-level work and require costly remediation to catch up. Others aren’t prepared for today’s workplace. For example, in Washington State, we have the number one job market for STEM related, high tech careers (Geekwire, 2015) but lower than average high school graduation rates and low numbers of STEM college graduates.
There aren’t any guarantees in life. But in the richest, most powerful country in the history of the world, surely we can join together in making sure that no child’s education is based on luck. Every student should know that they are guaranteed a fair shot, starting on their first day of school until they walk across that stage and receive a diploma.This St. Patrick’s Day, let’s stand together to remove luck from one place it doesn’t belong: our children’s education.