Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Washington Education Trust Fund Media Briefing
February 5, 2004

Good morning. Thank you for being here.

Joining me are:
· State Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson
· Lisa Macfarlane, Steve Miller, Roger Erskine and other members of the League of Education Voters
· Garrison Kurtz, Director of Programs for the Foundation for Early Learning;
· Bill Marler, a regent of Washington State University

We are here today to outline the details of the Washington Education Trust Fund.

We have made great strides in education reform. We’re proud of our progress.
But we can and must do more.

Our education system must keep up with the demands of the new economy.

We must give every child from every background a chance to do well in school, and a chance for a college education and a good paying job.

We must intensify our efforts to build a world-class education system.

Our children will need the best education possible to succeed in the global, high-tech, 21st century economy that awaits them after graduation.

Such a goal requires funding. The investment required to take our education system to the world-class level is significant – but absolutely necessary.

More than a year ago, I charged the League of Education Voters to meet with education stakeholders from across the state to create a proposal for a dedicated, stable funding source for enhanced education – from early learning through higher education.

They spent months conducting numerous town hall meetings with citizens around the state, arriving at the proposal that we’re outlining today – the Washington Education Trust Fund.

The fact is, we need new funding – dedicated, stable funding – if we want to take education to a higher, better in our state.

Without more funding, our colleges and universities will be turning away more students. We can’t tell our students to wait a few years before going to college. If our schools and colleges can’t provide the education our children need, our businesses will hire people from outside our state.

A good education is not only the great equalizer; it’s the key to a vibrant economy and a better quality of life for the citizens of Washington state.

Better education benefits everyone.

We are presenting to the voters a choice to take bold action, to reap huge rewards.

The Washington Education Trust Fund is a key and essential element to improving education in our state. The fund will support new programs and improvements we need to ensure that our children are ready for today’s world, and tomorrow’s.

We have made progress in education reform in our state. Our students are making great gains and responding to our tough new standards. Test scores are rising.

But we can’t make the changes that are needed to ensure that our children are ready for today’s highly competitive world, without creating new ways of funding new programs, and enhancing existing programs.

A quality education is a universal right. Our children deserve no less, and we can provide them nothing more important. Here’s a chance for Washington voters to send their kids to the front of the class.

The Washington Education Trust Fund is the right step in the right direction at the right time. Together, we can do it. We must do it –for our children.

Thank You.

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