If there was ever an opportunity to improve the quality of life for individuals and their families, education is the way to do that.
–Elson S. Floyd, Tenth President of Washington State University
I was deeply saddened to learn of Elson S. Floyd’s passing today. As the tenth president of Washington State University, President Floyd’s commitment to higher education was clear. President Floyd was a champion for affordable, accessible higher education, which he described as an “individual good and a common good.”
Elson S. Floyd, President of Washington State University, gives advice to College Bound Scholarship student Kaysiana Hazelwood prior to her speech at the League of Education Voters’ 2015 Annual Breakfast on March 26, 2015.
The League of Education Voters was honored with President Floyd’s presence at our 2015 breakfast, where he spoke passionately about the potential education has to transform lives: “If there was ever an opportunity to improve the quality of life for individuals and their families, education is the way to do that.”
One moment of inspiration for me that day actually occurred prior to our event. One of our College Bound Scholarship students, Kaysiana Hazelwood, was extremely nervous about speaking in front of such a large crowd. My staff worked to make her feel comfortable, and President Floyd joined their efforts after noticing her nervousness. He coached Kaysiana and gave her tips for speaking. Kaysiana did a fantastic job in her speech, and President Floyd later urged her to contact him or his office as she moved closer to her goal of attending WSU.
This is just one example of how much President Floyd cared, not just for WSU students, but for all Washington students. President Floyd was an inspiration through his work, and his legacy leaves a lasting impression on all of us regarding the value of education in our state. My deepest condolences are with his family and with Washington State University.
Last week, our CEO Chris Korsmo was cautiously optimistic when she wrote about the proposed budgets, saying that Washington was “heading in the right direction on education funding.”
This week, I will go one step further. By the end of this legislative session, what we will see is possibly the best budget for education in the history of the State.
Yes, that is a bold statement, especially with so many issues still unaddressed. However, we can see that the Legislature will invest more comprehensively across the spectrum of education than they ever have.
The League of Education Voters has long argued that a child’s education should be a continuum with seamless transitions from early learning through higher education. We have worked with partners around the state in pursuit of that vision, including with the Cradle through College Coalition. It is gratifying to see the Legislature following through with strategies and investments that support students at all ages. (more…)
The College Bound Scholarship Program was established by our Legislature eight years ago. College Bound provides scholarships to low-income and foster care students who enroll in middle school, keep their grades up, and stay out of trouble.
More than 212,000 students have signed up, and the program has had a huge impact. Enrollment has shown to positively impact high school academic performance, graduation rates, as well as college going rates and persistence. Of students enrolling in higher education, College Bound students are almost 50 percent more likely to attend a four-year college than low-income students statewide.
We strongly support College Bound and were proud to serve on the state’s College Bound Task Force last year. During the past few years, we have worked with many partners, including the College Success Foundation, Washington State Student Achievement Council, and the Road Map Project, to amplify College Bound’s impact and success and advocate for ongoing state support.
This program changes lives.
We were fortunate to hear the stories of two College Bound students this morning at our annual breakfast. We heard from Kaysiana Hazelwood, a senior at West Seattle High School, and from Midheta Djuderija, a student at the University of Washington.
Below are their incredible stories, told in their own words. (more…)