Washington State’s Education Deficit – The Seattle Medium

Washington state’s education deficit statistic was the topic of the Technology Alliance’s state of the art luncheon in downtown Seattle last Wednesday. Washington State consistently ranks at the bottom of states that send their children to college. This is the case both in or out of state. There was a goal attached to changing this stat.

Seattle and Washington State are considered by many to be a big problem when it comes to the economics of innovation. The region has a disproportionate number of tech jobs and R&D investments compared to many other states.

During the event, statistics were discussed and discussed. The 2021 release of Tech Alliance Benchmarking Reports offers insight into data from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. It shows that 53% of Washington students go straight from high school to college, placing the state 46th. To get an idea by comparison, about 80% of students in Massachusetts go directly to higher education.

Some pundits wonder how long Seattle can stay at the top with such a stat. The state needs local college graduates, which some say is a key issue for talent-hungry tech companies. The stat clearly surprised some at the event once it was explained.

Many experts have been looking at this statistic for years. Most say that a number of factors can create this statistic. Together, these reasons appear to have a variety of issues that have created a weak university culture.

The event was a big deal that had some local education luminaries. Michelle Reid, superintendent of the Northshore School District, northeast of Seattle, said Washington state is 48th among all states to send traditionally underrepresented students into post-secondary education.

“I think we need to stop seeing this as a student problem. This is a system problem; there is nothing wrong with our students,” Reid said to applause. “Unless we can disrupt the system in a meaningful way, we will continue to put good people into the system who are not able to thrive or achieve strong results.”

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