Want to reshape Federal Way's future? Focus on schools | Editorial

Several weeks ago we asked: “What is wrong with Federal Way?” The answers we received were both interesting and at times amusing. This week we want to reshape the question into “What would make Federal Way the best place on Earth (or at least in the Northwest)?”

While condo towers next to a performing arts and community center might make Federal Way a nicer place, it’s hard to believe that adding something already found in numerous other cities would really put Federal Way on the map. Even bribing foreign investors with green cards has yet to yield any results.

What if the community committed to do whatever it takes to make Federal Way schools the best in the nation, or at least in the top quartile? According to one recent Newsweek report, three of our high schools ranked 780th, 878th and 942nd. The only high schools in Washington ranking in Newsweek’s top 100 are found in Bellevue. Getting the top spots may be virtually impossible. Putting our entire district in the top quartile is nearly impossible. “Nearly” being the key word here.

Imagine what would happen to our community if we put our schools in the top quartile nationwide. People and companies would flock to Federal Way. No longer would the city council need to artificially stimulate the downtown redevelopment. Private money would flood the downtown as people clamored over one another to send their kids to Federal Way schools.

No longer would the arts community need to beg for a performing arts center. New businesses, citizens, parents and philanthropists would line up to build a performing arts center to supplement one of the best school districts in the nation. Even Sound Transit, which just gave us the shaft, would miraculously find the funds to bring light rail to downtown Federal Way.

Delusions of grandeur aside, even the effort of getting our schools in the top quartile nationwide would forever change Federal Way for the better. If we focused the efforts of every individual, service club, church and community organization toward improving our schools, nothing could stop us from reaching the top quartile. Nothing could stop us from giving the children in our community the best education in the nation and preparing them to be successful contributing members of society.

The only way this can work is if all parties involved — from teachers to administrators to parents to community leaders — stop making excuses, stop passing blame and start working together toward a common goal.

Together we could make our schools the best in the nation. Together we can forever change Federal Way. If you are interested in being part of the change, share your ideas.


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