Governor appoints former Issaquah school member to state school board

April 10, 2012

By Tom Corrigan

Though she was defeated in voting for Western Position 3, former Issaquah School Board member Connie Fletcher will retain a seat on the Washington State Board of Education thanks to Gov. Chris Gregoire.

While appointments need legislative approval, Gregoire directly names seven members of the 16-member board.

Fletcher first began serving on the state board in 2009. Her seat expired in December and she lost a bid for re-election to Mukilteo’s Kevin Laverty.

In total, five members of the state board are elected by public school board members from Washington.

For the immediate future, Fletcher said she hopes to continue what she called the state board’s amping up of high school graduation requirements. The economy is dependent, she added, on well-prepared high school graduates. And as more future jobs are going to require some college or technical school training, Fletcher said it is the job of public schools to ensure high school graduates are ready for some form of higher education.

“It means we must increase the rigor of the courses offered,” she said.

In that vein, the state board last year made changes in the number of credits students need to graduate from high school. Required English and social studies credits were increased by one and a half credits, while the number of elective credits needed was dropped.

Looking toward the future, the perceived achievement gap between students of different backgrounds needs to be closed, Fletcher said. Regulating or setting standards for Internet-based education also is on her mind.

“That’s a huge, burgeoning part of the education system right now,” Fletcher said.

School funding is obviously a huge question in Washington, but Fletcher said the state school board has no direct control over state funding of education.

Fletcher served on the Issaquah school board for 16 years until 2009, when she announced she would not run for another term. She also served for three years as president and officer of the Washington State School Directors’ Association, according to a state board press release.

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