I’m still very new to posting to a blog. I’m going to start with why I think I do this work, why I love education advocacy work.
I grew up poor; my mom was a single mom of 4 kids who worked for the telephone company. She valued education and encouraged us to succeed. In spite of this, I lost a brother to drugs and another brother for 20 years to alcohol (sober 15 years now).
We lived in a working class neighborhood where most people worked at the Armour meat packing plant. I went to high school knowing I would go to college. I took college prep classes and I had pretty good grades, good enough to get into a state college.
I vividly remember talking to my school counselor about going to college. I remember she was cute, blond, perky and that I only met with her once in the course of four years. The reason I remember her is because she discouraged me from going to a four year college. I never understood why. I can only guess it was because I was poor and my mom was a single parent, and my brothers were in trouble a lot. She wouldn’t help me get the applications for college; she wouldn’t help me figure out how to apply to college. I had no clue. No-one, literally no-one I knew had gone to college. Through sheer will I figured out how to get an application and I got in, went to college, worked at Microsoft, had children and became an advocate for education.
I do this work because it shouldn’t be so difficult for children, who want to learn, to get a good education. I want higher graduation requirements because I know most students need the guidance and the push to get what they really need. If we don’t have the structure, too many children are discouraged, like me, from trying. And, if they didn’t have the parental support, or didn’t have the intense drive, they would just stop trying and never get the education they deserve.
On Wednesday, I saw parents from all across the state come to Olympia to say “our kids need more.” They need a six hour class day in order to just keep pace with 21st century demands, they need quality teachers to make sure that they learn a years worth of material in every year, and they need higher graduation requirements to prepare our kids for a 21st century life. HB 1410 and SB 5444 resonate with parents and the community. The world has changed. Our children need more time in the classroom and more higher level classes, and they need quality teachers to deliver them.
These bills deliver a 21st century education our communities want and our children need.