The field of Human Centered Design & Engineering is growing, and more than 80% of the program’s graduates are employed within 6 months of graduation. But Stephanie White, an undergraduate advisor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington, says that even though the undergraduate program has been flooded with applications, a lot of the students who want to study engineering in her department can’t—they simply don’t have the prerequisites to qualify. “Many students find out their junior year of high school that they don’t have the prerequisites to study STEM in college—by then it’s too late to take the courses they need.”

Sadly, Stephanie’s experience isn’t unusual. Only 4 in 10 graduating seniors meet the basic admissions requirements to get into a public university in Washington. And nearly 60% of students who attend community or technical college must take remediation classes to get to those basic 4-year college admissions requirements. In other words, many students must pay tuition to learn what they should have been taught in public high school. Help us to change this for Washington students by signing a petition in support of a college and career ready diploma.

Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington, wrote in a Seattle Times editorial on Sunday that Washington state has one of the lowest rates of time devoted to science instruction in K–12 schools, despite being one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial states in the nation.

While 70 percent of new jobs in the next decade are predicted to be in computer-related occupations, the majority of our kids could earn a high school diploma that neither prepares, nor makes them eligible, for any of these jobs.

But legislation currently headed to the House of Representatives in Olympia could change that. Senate Bill 6552 increases the rigor of Washington’s current high school diploma, increasing the number of credits to 24. This increase in credits would include an additional science lab credit—what is ultimately the missing link between those students who make it into the University of Washington (and other public universities in Washington), and those who don’t.

The League of Education Voters has joined a chorus of voices calling for a college and career ready diploma, and we ask that you join us in that call. Along with the other members of the Excellent Schools Now (ESN) Coalition, we are asking supporters of a college and career ready diploma to sign our petition in support.

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