Letters to the Editor

Writer’s conclusion about me was ‘fantasy’ | LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

A writer penned a Kafkaesque letter-to-the-editor out of the playbook of  the former East Germany’s Stasi ranks. The Aug. 31 letter was a recitation of an anonymous “young student” quoting two “overheard conversations” at an unspecified time and event. The conclusion that I, James Olsen, is “disrespectful” was pure political fantasy.

I have publicly spoken and written extensively on what I believe ails our Washington education system and our unsatisfactory rating of 38th in the nation. I have spoken before the League of Women Voters, Bremerton/Bainbridge chambers, and local media editorial boards.

Washington state education is of critical importance. Our K-12 system, established in 1854/2,000 students, now has 988,200 students in 2030 schools/295 districts. K-12 education is the largest single element in the state budget at $16 billion (state/federal).

K-12 funding must be the legislative first-order-of-business and not the current last-agenda item in special session as seen by the Democrat House/Senate. Our students are our future and deserve priority treatment and I will offer legislation to make that the law. 23rd delegation (Rolfes/Appleton/Hansen) refused to press for K-12 priority-budget attention.  Washington Supreme Court in their decision in McCleary v. State of Washington has put the Legislature on notice that they have failed to meet their constitutional requirement to adequately fund K-12. Clearly the issue of K-12 funding is a hot-button item and requires immediate attention.

My guiding principle: More money is not the cure for poor performance, disarray, and lack of vision in government.

The Washington Legislature must embrace the use of education innovation (digital university and charter schools), reorganization of upper-tier administrators, teacher evaluation criteria/compensation, and empowerment of principals to emphasize teaching, not indoctrination.

I wholeheartedly support education excellence and recognize this is a key element of a new Washington prosperity. I unconditionally respect our students and teachers and will work with diligence and leadership to resolve K-12/higher ed shortfalls.

JAMES M. OLSEN

Candidate, 23rd District

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