State education leader makes Sequim stop

Randy Dorn, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, helped Sequim with its unofficial school kick-off on Aug. 26.


For their pre-school year pep rally, local educators brought in the top educator in the state.

With a soundtrack-enhanced presentation designed to get teachers, administrators and other staffers energized for the 2015-2016 school year, Randy Dorn, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, helped Sequim with its unofficial school kick-off on Aug. 26.

Prior to his visit to the Chimacum School District administrators that day, Dorn hit on topics from school funding to education philosophy to life lessons learned from a career in public schools.

Here are a few of Dorn’s pearls of wisdom for the Sequim staff:


Dorn on critical thinking:

“In my day, the news was facts. Today, the news is editorial and opinion … Now, they (students) can get their phones to give them the answer. I want to get them to solve problems that haven’t been solved yet.”


Dorn on his own children’s education and opportunities:

“My kids went to Eatonville schools. There were not a lot of extras there (but) we went to museums and zoos, the ocean, fishing, Mariners games. We fed the seagulls at Ivar’s. The poverty kid isn’t able to get those experiences. I’m willing to bet there’s a kid in front of you (Sequim teachers) that doesn’t have a parent in front of him, that didn’t have the resources that Randy and Kay Dorn had.”


Dorn on the state Supreme Court’s decision to fine the state $100,000 per day for legislators not meeting the requirement to “fully fund” education:

“I think the Supreme Court has to have a tougher spine. The $100,000 should come from the legislators’ pockets, not your pockets.”


Dorn on full-day kindergarten:

“I take my hat off to the Legislature for that one (funding for full-day kindergarten). But there are a number of schools that might not have the teachers and space for it. Just minor problems.”


Dorn on respect for educators:

“It’s changed as far as the respect teachers get these days … (but) all the young people you talk to, it’s the teachers that are the biggest influences. You can make a difference … and you do.”


Dorn on what schools are required to do:

“(In my day) we didn’t try to educate every kid. We didn’t have ELL (English Language Learners programs). Now we do. And that’s a good thing. But we need more resources. We can’t do it alone. We need businesses, social services, the state.”


Dorn on young students’ attitudes toward school:

“I hear the word boring because they know that’s what’s going to be taught.”


Dorn on teaching more than English

“Percentage-wise for second-language learners, we’re fourth in the nation. It’s California, then Texas, then Florida, then Washington.”


Dorn on elimination of end-of-course testing:

“We want kids to learn … not be motivated by fear.”


Dorn on his own position:

“My job is not to make adults comfortable or to advocate for teachers. That’s the WEA’s job (Washington Education Association). My job is to advocate for all kids.”


Dorn on education’s dollar value in Washington:

“What dollar in education isn’t political? But we’re 42nd in student funding (per student) and 14th in academic performance.”


Dorn on what he wanted to be when he grew up:

“I wanted to be a horse jockey. (Laughter.) Is there a problem with that?”


Dorn on perspective:

“When I was a high school principal, I knew everything about education. In three weeks, I turn 62. When I wake up each morning, I realize how much I don’t know.”