Insider's Update

Oct 31, 2023

More money has been spent on education in Washington than ever before, with less to show for it. 

  • Nationally, Washington ranks 16th on per student spending, $17,199 (1), but our overall school system quality is ranked 25th (2). 

  • Washington received $2.9 billion in federal ESSER funds, including at least $344 million to address “learning loss.” 90% of that funding was passed on to school districts (3).

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Scores, enrollment, and college-going rates are declining.

  • A recent legislative audit found that Math and ELA scores have declined for students of all races and ethnicities, none of which have recovered to pre-pandemic scores (3).

  • Public school enrollment has declined by more than 60,000 students, more than 5% of total enrollment (4).

  • Washington ranks 45th in the country for college-going rates of high school graduates (5).

Increased spending should lead to improved outcomes, not declining ones. I plan to do things differently:

  • We know that math is very predictive of educational success; students who fail Algebra 1 have a one in five chance of graduating from high school (6). And yet our math scores have declined during the current administration’s tenure (1). This isn’t the case across the country. We need to identify the solutions that work, solutions that are already closing education equity gaps, and rapidly scale them here in Washington.

  • The same is true with mental health. Washington ranks 39th nationally for student mental health, with 1 in 10 adolescents reporting they’ve attempted suicide in the last year (7). This is a solvable problem. Communities across the state have created innovative, evidence-based solutions to address these issues. I am prepared to adapt, operationalize, and replicate these solutions statewide within a year.

  • Big picture, we need to rebuild confidence that OSPI can transform state spending into impactful outcomes for students. That is going to require a new leader with a different approach.

I want to hear from you!

In addition to declining scores, enrollment, graduation, and mental health, are there other parts of our current state education system that need to be on my radar? What proven, local solutions should I be positioning for replication once elected? Which evidence based interventions should we be driving dollars towards?

Please send me an email with your thoughts:

Paid for by Reid Saaris for Superintendent
PO Box 9100
Seattle, WA 98109