As part of the 2023 legislature session, Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal gave an updated address to legislators on Monday. It was largely a summary of proposals he laid out in the fall of last year.

  Reykdal says education is recovering

The message was basically a state of the union on education address, and according to Reykdal:

“I am so proud of the progress we have made over the last year, Our schools are leveraging one-time federal funds to support student learning and well-being recovery in innovative ways, and their tireless efforts have had a tangible impact. However, our students’ needs are profound, and they preceded the pandemic.”

He claims the state's funding of education is on a downward trend, despite having what he said was one of the fastest-growing economies in the nation.

He said in the earliest stages of the pandemic, the state saw "sharp" declines in enrollment, while the upper grades including high school remained high, even increasing as the pandemic ended.  The K-6 declines, especially K-3, were a result of the prolonged lockdowns and school closures that drove many parents to private schools and homeschooling.

The 2022 graduation rate, said Reykdal, was 82.3 percent, a drop of  0.2 percent. However, those figures do not necessarily include all of the students who simply left school without any notification.

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 Reykdal renewed his call for more spending

According to his address, he laid out again his proposals for the legislature he wants to see passed:

"This includes priorities like fully funding supports for students with disabilities, providing all students with meals at school at no cost to the student, eliminating financial barriers to dual credit programs, ensuring all of Washington’s youngest learners have free access to books at home through their fifth birthday, and much more."

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