My father was a truck driver. He got up every morning before dawn and worked most days until it was dark. He never took a sick day, never wore a tie, and never wanted his children to have to work as hard as he did. He wanted us to get our education. He believed success in school would open doors for our futures. This meant doing well, graduating and going to college or learning a trade. This approach was sufficient for me and my classmates. In order to find success today, my students and my children need to continue learning long after school lets out.
Today, success requires extensive education, more extensive than what is offered at our schools. More and more, successful students have access to support and opportunities before they enter kindergarten, after the school day, and once they earn their diploma. The health of our city – from job opportunities to life expectancy and our future prosperity – depends on highly skilled and educated residents. If we do not work to support all of our students, we will fail to prepare them, and our city, for future success.
I believe that Tacoma can be a leader in building a system that allows all students to receive a supportive educational experience with attainable solutions.
The city can invest in the libraries and other community organizations that serve families and young children to ensure all students enter kindergarten ready.
The city can collaborate with community partners to create a “One Pass” that will allow students to access all arts and community spaces, including the transportation to get there.
The city can lead in developing opportunities for high school graduates to acquire the skills necessary to enter the workforce and earn a living wage.
With clear leadership that focuses on education before school starts, after school ends and long after graduation, the city of Tacoma can build a competitive workforce that allows for growth and prosperity. This future Tacoma, filled with skilled and educated residents, will help attract jobs, investment, and lead to the shared prosperity we desire.
Many parents like my father dream of a better future for their children. If we invest now, we can ensure that all parents in Tacoma have an opportunity to turn their dreams for their children into a reality.