State-wide results show 42% of Washington’s public schools are low-performing.

The new Washington Policy Center Public School Accountability Index shows the performance of schools in the Yakima area is falling behind state averages. According to the index, just three schools rank Exemplary – Wide Hollow Elementary, Ahtanum Valley Elementary and Pioneer Elementary (Sunnyside). The index ranks schools as Exemplary, Very Good, Good, Fair or Struggling based on a number of criteria.  Overall, more than half of schools in Yakima-area school districts are in the bottom two categories of the index. That’s worse than the statewide results, which show 42% of schools are only Fair or Struggling.

The best and worst scores from each district are listed below.

Yakima School District: Best: Eisenhower High                              Worst: Yakima Satellite Alternative


West Valley School District: Best: Wide Hollow Elementary              Worst: Summitview Elementary


East Valley School District: Best: East Valley High                               Worst: East Valley Elementary


Zillah School District: Best: Zillah High                                           Worst:  Zillah Middle School


Selah School District: Best: Selah High                                          Worst: John Campbell Elementary


Sunnyside School District: Best: Pioneer Elementary                        Worst: Sunnyside High

The WPC Public School Accountability Index is a ranking of the 2,075 schools in Washington state. The Policy Center’s Index is based on data compiled by the State Board of Education’s 2011 Achievement Index, conducted to determine whether school officials are fulfilling their paramount duty under the state constitution to provide a quality education for every child.  A close study of the index shows many school rankings are reduced as a result of student performance on math and science tests.

The full WPC School Accountability Index is available online here.  Local schools are listed alphabetically, by district, or by score. WPC’s two-page Policy Note explaining the Accountability Index is available here.

Key Findings:

·         Only 6% of public schools in the Yakima-area are considered Exemplary

·         42% of Washington public schools are considered Fair or Struggling

·         53% of Yakima-area public schools are considered Fair or Struggling

·         Public schools in Washington state receive $10,326 per student, per year in operating funds

·         Since 1980 education spending, adjusted for inflation, has more than doubled, while the number of students, due to smaller families, has increased by only a third

·         There are fewer students today in relation to the total population than in the past, and spending per student is the highest ever

Governor Gregoire says “I put a lot more money into K-12.  But then you sit there and say, ‘Why have I not been able to get the result I set out to achieve?’” Policy changes that would improve learning for children are described in Washington Policy Center’s education reform plan, Eight Practical Ways to Reverse the Decline in Public Schools.