Student achievement in 'troubling state' | Federal Way policy hailed as bright spot

The Road Map Project released a report earlier this week, indicating that student achievement, especially among students of color, is in a "troubling state" in South King County and South Seattle.

RMP is described as a program "aimed at getting dramatic improvement in student achievement from cradle to college and career."

According to the RMP, 34 percent of students in the region are not reading well by third grade, and only 24 percent of the region's students are getting a college degree or career credential.

The lack of secondary education is especially troubling for the RMP, with the organization saying 67 percent of workforce jobs will require a degree by 2018, a figure developed by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce.

In South King County, Federal Way Public Schools was one of the bright spots, the RMP shared. The oft-discussed academic acceleration policy was touted as a positive sign, with the RMP noting that because of the policy, "enrollment of 11t- and 12th-graders in accelerated courses increased from 35 percent to 61 percent and enrollment doubled for Hispanic students."

The RMP is staffed by the Community Center for Education Results (CCER). Executive director Mary Jean Ryan feels these results should create a sense of urgency for education in the South Sound.

"The data we show in the Road Map Project at each stage of education — from cradle to college and career — is a sobering reminder of the urgent need to dramatically improve student achievement in South King County and South Seattle," Ryan said.

The RMP encompasses the Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, South Seattle and Tukwila school districts. These seven districts make up:

• 70 percent of King County's low-income students

• 69 percent of King County's English Language Learner (ELL) students

• 58 percent of King County's students of color

Local employer giants, such as Boeing, realize the importance of tapping into these future workers, and making sure they're adequately trained.

"Our people are our strategic advantage," said Michael Greenwood, senior manager for Boeing. "Boeing is growing and will require thousands of knowledgeable and skilled workers in the years to come. To attract and retain tomorrow's most talented and diverse workforce, we need to start today."


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