Saturday, January 13, 2007

Education: paramount duty of the state?

My first Youtube video. Impressive light show at Whatcom Educational Credit Union on Holly Street.

I hear that there is a group called Network for Excellence in Washington Schools. They are considering filing of a law suite against Washington State over school funding levels.

Watch out.

Since our state constitution has wording about education being the paramount duty of state government, there are some who feel funding of education has been inadequate. This could be grounds for having a court parcel out state funding, rather than the legislature.

In theory, the state constitution puts education on top of the list, but in practice "public safety" is probably the paramount duty of government. Usually police, fire and public safety are thought of as the most important functions for state and local government.

After that, everything else.

It can be argued that just about all functions of government provide "education." Really, education never stops throughout life; or at least it shouldn't.

Washington State's Basic Health Plan for low income workers could be seen as an educational thing because it provides access to a doctor. Seeing the doctor could "teach" someone about better diet, exercise and stopping smoking. If these lessens are taught to a low income worker in Washington's service economy, it could be seen as important. Possibly more important than some part of the school curriculum.

Many people do not have access to doctors in this state until they get to the emergency room.

Even state parks could be viewed as educational institutions. Interpretive centers, hands on museums and nature trails are all educational. The schools even benefit from state parks. Where do people go for field trips?

All of society should be seen as an educational experience, not just a machine for making money.

People who work in supermarkets can benefit just as much from a publicly funded museum as their kids can from school.

Kids might even do better in school if they are immersed in a society of learning, not just a state that provides good schools, but lets everything else go to pot.

I hope this school funding issue doesn't mean big cuts to other important services that state government provides.

On the other hand, maybe it's time for the state of Washington to impose an income tax.

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