I was appalled to read that Cathy Dahlquist, who has done so much to hurt education both on the Plateau and in the state, has attempted to position herself as the “education candidate.”
In her freshman year in the house, Dahlquist, in an 11th hour amendment to the budget, cut funding to education, throwing all of the needy and at-risk students in the state under the bus. That sneaky amendment was never discussed, either in committee, nor on the floor, nor were any hearings held. As a result of Dahlquist’s de-funding of education, the alternative program that once served our Enumclaw and White River students is gone now. For 18 years students who had failed everywhere else had a second chance, and 50 percent of them finally made it and graduated. It was a wonderful thing. But with the Dahlquist funding cuts, those students now have dropped out. They have nowhere to go.
In 1997 the way was opened for homeschoolers to work with the public districts in a variety of ways that benefited both. That flexibility to educate children in the ways they learn best ended in 2011. Guess who sponsored the bill that ended educational flexibility in Washington? Dahlquist.
I have been an educator for 41 years and have worked with needy students for 17 of those years. I have written to Hurst, to Dahlquist and to Roach many times. I have invited them to speak to our students, to visit our programs. I have supplied facts and research about how to best educate students, particularly the neediest of our students, and have informed them what actually works. Roach visited our schools and learned about the alternative programs on the Plateau. She spoke to our students. She listened to educators with years of experience. She sponsored two bills in the senate to provide a more appropriately focused curriculum and job-ready graduation requirements for at-risk and needy students. Hurst wrote me a letter explaining his position and courteously disagreeing with mine, but never visited to discover the facts. Dahlquist never even replied at all.
When my wife called Dahlquist at her office to express her disappointment that she (Dahlquist) would oppose the very best aspects of public education, and to explain a better way, Dahlquist did not listen. Dahlquist did chatter endlessly to my wife, attempting to dissuade her. As a professional educator, I can tell you straight up that Dahlquist, and those who side with her, have been the death of education in this state. And that is why it is so appalling that she would pretend to be a pro-education candidate.
Joel D. Black