House passes Dream Act on first day of legislative session | Guest Editorial

Rep. Luis Moscoso - Reporter file photo
Rep. Luis Moscoso
— image credit: Reporter file photo

Our state constitution and laws treat every child the same. Rich or poor, black or white, Asian or Hispanic, each little boy and girl in our state can go to public school to get an education. They’re all equal under the law, but sometimes there are glitches and roadblocks to that vision of equality.

That’s why last year, with bipartisan support, the House of Representatives passed the Washington Dream Act. Since the Senate chose to not put it up for a vote then, we once again passed it out of the House on the very first day of the 2014 legislative session.

Because our state’s economic and social success depends on the preparation of all its students, the Washington Dream Act would qualify all students who graduated from a Washington high school—including our state’s young aspiring citizens—for the State Need Grant.

One of the most difficult issues facing public education today is the systemic and persistent achievement gap that holds far too many of our students back. We cannot afford to leave another generation of potential doctors, engineers, teachers and entrepreneurs behind.

It’s time for our minority students to stop growing up with the achievement gap as a fact of life. Instead of dropping out because there’s nothing to look forward to after graduation, the Washington Dream Act will become the incentive these at-risk students need to succeed in school and break the cycle of poverty and inequality.

Every Washington student should be eager to make plans for life beyond high school, to have the opportunity to study hard and earn a college degree. Let’s hope this time around the Senate chooses to give all students a chance to an education, the surest ticket to the American Dream.

Luis Moscoso represents north Kirkland in the 1st Legislative District.

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