Inslee says schools would be No. 1 priority as governor

Using Renton’s award-winning Talbot Hill Elementary School as his backdrop, Jay Inslee, Democratic contender for governor, said Thursday he would make schools and children’s futures the No. 1 priority as governor.

Inslee unveiled a sweeping plan for the state’s educational system that would encourage innovation, public and private partnerships and support — and accountability — for teachers.

“I intend to rebuild our public education system, where we are currently falling short, and expand on the things that we are doing right today,” he said.

He’ll build the education system on this philosophy, he said.

“No excuses, no exceptions, and excellence for all children,” he said.

He offered his vision for the state’s education system by the year 2020:

• All students graduate from high school prepared with 21st century skills.

• Achievement and opportunity gaps among students are eliminated.

• All state students have access to post-secondary education or training to pursue a career.

Talbot Hill, known for its MicroSociety Program that teaches real-life skills for a lifetime of success in business and other endeavors, is one Washington’s 22 “Innovative Schools” that have implemented “bold, creative, and innovative” ideas.

Before his speech, Inslee shook hands with six Talbot Hill students, Emma Crothers, Alex Munoz, Damarco Williams, Joshua Kwok, Nico Rei McMilland and Faith Richardson, who all participate in Talbot Hill’s student government.

Inslee pointed to schools across the state that are finding new ways to educate students at all levels, including in Renton. He said he intends to make such innovative programs the norm in the state.

Inslee was introduced by Mary Alice Heuschel, superintendent of the Renton School District.

“What I heard really clearly was that he wanted accountability with support,” she said. He spoke of partnerships and involving everyone, from parents, to students, to teachers, to principals and superintendents, she said.

“He has an approach that we are all in this together,” she said.

Heuschel said she didn’t hear a lot about funding, except Inslee’s jobs plan.

“But as long as the priority can turn on education and the plan the state does have, as those dollars flow, it will make a difference in public education. So there’s hope,” she said.

For Inslee’s schools plan, go to


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