The current public school system is not serving the majority of students and preparing them for life. The bottom 20% of graduating classes are dropping out rather than finishing. Our high schools are pushing kids down the college degree path as though it is the only path. We are saddling our kids with a lifetime of debt in exchange for degrees that they will scarcely use after graduation. Adults are struggling to stay ahead in a constantly changing employment environment, as industries are being revolutionized by technology. Long-standing employees and hard-working Seattleites are being left behind, with little opportunity to rejoin the fast paced work force.

We must provide a quality education for all students of all backgrounds and abilities. Charter schools, private schools, online schools, home schools, and other non-traditional education needs to be encouraged. Our city should welcome people so passionate about our children’s future that they are willing to start schools, not be threatened by them. We need to eliminate bureaucracy and ensure our resources are getting to the teachers and students where they belong, rather than to the bloated staffs that only paralyze the system.

Schools like the Raisbeck Aviation High School and programs like the After School STEM Academy should to be greatly expanded to include all local industries and trades. Their capacity must be increased, so no child is denied a pathway to success based on admissions lotteries.

Seattle residents should have job retraining available at little or no cost. The cost of providing our own citizens retraining is far less than the personal and societal costs of losing them to endless unemployment, and all the trickle-down negative effects that go along with it.

The high-paying tech jobs that our city has become known for should be going to Seattle citizens first, rather than people imported from other states and countries. We have the smartest people in the world, and our innovation is why people from around the globe are clamoring for the opportunities our city provides. It is a sign of something wrong in the system when the creators of this innovation are being passed over for the jobs which utilize it.