Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Partnership for Learning and GreatSchools.Net Launch
November 20, 2002
Thanks Jennifer. Good afternoon everyone. I am very happy to be here this afternoonóboth as Governor, and as a parent.
Parents are critical to quality education. Successful schools and successful students depend on informed and involved parents. Our kids need us.
Because helping students meet high standards isnít the responsibility of schools alone. Itís the job of every mom and dad.
Washington graduation requirements are becoming more stringent. Soon all high school graduates will be expected to pass at least 19 academic credits.
They will be required to complete a comprehensive, culminating project. And they will need to earn the Certificate of Mastery before they receive their diplomas.
Many parents arenít aware of these requirements. Some are waiting until these requirements are closer. But we canít afford to wait.
Washington parents need to know how best to contribute to their childrenís educations today. We need to know what to expect from our kidsí teachers and schools.
Thatís why Iím proud to help the Partnership for Learning launch its GreatSchools Web site in our state. This new free site is a rich information resource for parents. It offers information we need to help our kids and schools succeed.
This site includes information about school achievement, practical advice and school resources. GreatSchools.Net is in an interactive, easy-to-understand format.
Parents can get basic school profiles with contact information and data. There are demographics and test scores.
Parents will be able to track a school's test scores, compare the achievement of similar schools statewide or look for programs that match our child's needs.
Parents can even get tips on how to provide a healthy lunch for their child. Or find out what questions to ask during parent-teacher conferences.
Unlike other states, Washingtonís version allows parents to link to Partnership for Learning materials on school improvement. Our version also provides access to the Just for the Kids research. Educators have trusted and used this research for years.
In the past three months, GreatSchools was visited by parents nationwide more than two million times.
Soon, Mona and I will be among those parents. Our daughter Emily just started school this year. Her brother Dylan isnít far behind. Mona and I are always looking for good resources as parents in the public school system.
This site will help Washington parents and Washington kids in schools across our state. Now all of our schools can share their successes and improvements.
Speaking of successes, Iíd like to congratulate Thurgood Marshall Elementary Principal Ben Wright. Iíd also like to congratulate the teachers, parents, community and students of this school. You are making great strides here.
Marshallís WASL scores jumped from 10 percent of the fourth graders passing the fourth grade math standards in 2001 to 45.5 percent passing in 2002!
All other scores are also up. Math instruction here has been revamped with the help of advisers from the University of Washington.
Youíve created an individualized education plan for each student. Thatís something every school should do for every student. Especially for students whose WASL scores show they may need extra time or extra help to meet the standards.
Clearly, students here at Marshall are getting a great educationókeep up the good work!
Iíd like to commend the Marshall fifth-graders for their hard work on the WASL this past spring. And itís great to see all of you fourth-graders here. How many of you are working hard in school? Please raise your hands.
Thatís great. I want to encourage each of you to keep doing your very best.
All of the hard work youíre doing is very important. Keep working hard. Listen to your parents. Listen to your teachers. Study and learn all you can.
Iíd also like to thank the business community. Thank you for remaining committed to education. Thank you for keeping it as a top priority even in tough economic times. Our kids need your continued support.
The Partnership for Learning is a great example of business support. The Partnership works hard to keep our parents, schools, communities, businesses and decision makers informed about our stateís school improvement efforts. For more than seven years, youíve worked to move these efforts forward. Youíve made sure we have easy-to-understand information. Thank you for your support.
Thanks to the Partnership for Learning and Washington Mutual for finding and bringing us GreatSchools.
Information is power. Informed parents improve schools. When weíre informed and engaged, weíre better able to express our high expectations for academic performance. Weíre better able to help identify and address school weaknesses. And weíre better advocates for our kids.
I encourage every parent to use this new resource. Itís one of the most valuable free tools Washington parents now have. Letís stay informed. Letís stay involved. And letís stay the course on high academic standards.
Letís not settle for anything less than educational excellence for our kids. Thank you.