It is time to look forward as a state – to set ambitious goals and develop innovative strategies that will bring us closer to our shared vision. It is also time to ask whether or not our actions and investments are achieving measurable progress and whether we can do better.
State investments are succeeding in areas such as employing highly-qualified teachers and increasing health care coverage for children. These efforts should continue. We also need to make progress in other areas such as preparing children for kindergarten, improving access to mental health care, and building pathways out of poverty.
The Progress Index establishes a values-driven framework in order to remind us that the interests of all Washingtonians overlap and intersect, that we have significant challenges, and that we can make real improvements when we work together. Realizing this shared vision for Washington State will require a new and innovative approach to state budgeting and advocacy. The current model of disparate and diverse interests working to secure funding for narrow issues limits our ability to successfully focus on comprehensive investments.
Success will also require ongoing assessment of our strategies and analysis of their results. Looking ahead, a key role of the Progress Index will be providing accurate and accessible research on the state budget, economic and social trends, and the outcomes of our investments. By building measurement tools on a framework of shared values, this work will provide us with the ability to track our progress over time and determine if we are moving in the right direction.