Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
"Ask for Transcripts" Campaign Announcement
June 22, 2000

Thank you, John. It’s a pleasure to be here to talk about something that’s very important – ensuring that Washington’s students have the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in this increasingly competitive world.

As you know, we here in Washington have undertaken a comprehensive effort to improve our public schools. We have put into place tougher academic standards for all students. We’ve designed new state assessments to check our progress in reaching these new standards. And we’ve established an accountability system to make sure every school improves every year. Beginning in 2008, students will have to pass the new 10th-grade assessment as part of the state’s graduation requirements -- earning them a Certificate of Mastery.

Beginning next year, each student’s transcript will indicate whether a student earned a certificate of mastery -- providing additional information to employers about a student’s academic performance. Earning a certificate of mastery is hard work and will require a commitment from everyone -- students, educators, parents, businesses and community members.

The "Ask for Transcripts" campaign is a tangible and concrete way that the business and labor community can reinforce educators’ work -- letting students know that what they learn in school matters. I have issued a memo to all Washington state agencies, asking them to participate in this effort beginning this September. I encourage all businesses in Washington to support this campaign. Call the Partnership and add your name to the list of business participants who have said "yes, we will let students know that good grades open doors to job opportunity."

One Washington school superintendent told us, "Students are constantly hearing about the importance of striving in schools. But when that message comes from potential employers, and it’s tied to something that students really want, it begins to finally sink in."

For my children, all our children -- I want an education system that gives them the chance to do anything they want to in life. And having that opportunity means more than just making improvements in our schools. It means a commitment from all of us to help our children -- especially our teenagers -- see the vital link between their schoolwork and their future.

They need to understand that education is the key to their future. As I’ve said again and again, education is the great equalizer that makes hope and opportunity possible. Through this "Ask for Transcripts" initiative, employers throughout Washington will send that message to students in a clear and tangible way.

And now, to tell you more about why business should participate in this campaign is John Matthews from Costco. Along with The Boeing Company, Costco was one of the first companies to enthusiastically support this campaign.
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