During his announcement of the High School Proficiency Exam statewide results in Olympia this morning, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn made it clear that state budget cuts will make it hard to sustain current rates of graduation.
More than 90 percent of our state's graduating seniors have passed the state reading and writing exams prior to their graduating ceremonies in the fourth year of high school graduation requirements. "Our graduation rates are going up, and minority populations have increased graduation rates," Dorn said.
But he stressed that budget cuts would affect the state's most challenging students. "It will be difficult to hold on the numbers we have today," he said. "All the assistance we gave school districts we cut. We are going to have to fund a 21st century school system and we are going to have to go to the public for that resource."
When a reporter asked Dorn how exactly he would "go to the public," Dorn replied that it was up to the legislature to decide. When asked whether he wanted to run for governor, Dorn replied laughing, "I keep all my options open, it would be fun just one time." State Attorney General Rob McKenna announced his candidacy for governor last week and it looks like education will be one of the big issues during his campaign. But many who listened to his announcement speech felt that he didn't really provide a comprehensive blueprint on how to address the current education crisis.
Dorn did confirm that he would be running for re-election.
Statewide, the HSPE results show that the achievement gap still persists, and drop-out rates continue to be way too high.
Passing the reading and writing HSPE falls under one of four state requirements for graduation, the others being getting at least 19 credits (most districts require more), completing a high school and beyond plan, and completing a culminating project.
I am waiting to hear back from the Seattle school district about how this year's graduating class performed on the HSPE. The state doesn't release district results until late August and technically, districts aren't required to release them until August either.
Dorn also talked about his office's $2 million partnership with Microsoft, which would provide IT certification to all students in the state. "This is not just making students college-ready, it's also making them career-ready," he said.