Our country is falling behind the rest of the world at an alarming rate. While our higher education system is still one of the best in the world, our basic education system is plagued with strapped budgets, teachers who are underpaid and overstressed, and crumbling schools. Our children are our future, and we need to do everything we can to ensure they have an education that puts them in competition with the rest of the world. I understand that every person can’t, or doesn’t wish to go to college. For those people, we need to embrace technical and trade schools. I will continually look for ways to fund our public education system and grow our workforce training programs. We need to stay competitive in the world, and better education and training will do just that.
What I’m working on with your input:
Federal Education Standards that make us competitive with the rest of the world.
You cannot deny that our country is part of a world economy, one where we are being left behind when it comes to education. While I absolutely agree that the state and local government should have a large say in our children’s education, we need to ensure that we have a minimum standard that allows our students to prepare for participation in the global economy.
Repair the schools that are falling apart.
There are schools all across the country that are literally falling apart. As part of an infrastructure program to put people to work, we need to include repairing/building schools to ensure that our children have a safe environment for learning. I truly believe that our children are one of our most important resources, and we as a society need to do everything we can to ensure their success.
While focusing on STEM, we cannot forget the Arts.
Our world today is filled with technology that we couldn’t even dream of two decades ago. While we absolutely need to ensure that we are focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math; we cannot forget the importance of the arts in our education. Let’s face it, not every child wants to become a scientist or an engineer. While having the basic skills available that embracing a STEM education gives them, offering arts programs allows our children to embrace creativity and problem solving which is a far more vital skill.
Make the curriculum more engaging.
When I was in school the classes I looked forward to the most, and learned the most from, were classes that engaged with me. Everyone learns differently, and we need to have an approach that gives all students the opportunity to learn the way they learn the best. We should be focusing less on lectures and homework, and more on interaction. Our testing methods should be centered around challenging understanding and comprehension, not reciting memorized answers. Standardized tests do not show the whole picture. While there is no direct evidence this quote is from Einstein, I feel that it is relevant. “If you judge a fish by Its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that It is stupid.”
We also need to reduce our class sizes. Obviously, in order for us to do this we need more teachers and teachers assistants. I would happily give up an administrator making $100,000/yr to get a pair of teachers (or TA’s).
Better pay for teachers.
There is a huge shortage of teachers right now, and this stems directly from a lack of interest in teaching as a career. It is a hard, often thankless job, that requires an immense commitment. With teacher salaries being as low as they are, why would anyone want to teach anymore? What we need to do is start decreasing the number and salaries of administrative positions in schools and reinvest that savings into higher teacher salaries. We need to ensure that public schools have the support of both state and local government to ensure that we are funding them appropriately. In return, we do need to ensure that we are holding our teachers accountable. There should be a teacher “report card” that is made available to the public. Great teachers should be rewarded, and teachers who need improvement should have opportunities to grow and learn to improve. While teacher tenure is a hot button topic, I do feel that ending tenure for teachers who over a period of time do not show improvement after coaching. The education of our children is far more important to me than placating any lobbying group. Let me be 100% clear on this though, I stand with teachers. I want to improve teacher salaries and benefits, and I want to make the career of teaching just as revered as a doctor or lawyer. I only ask that we hold them to the same high standards because it is so critical.
Details coming soon.
Education is a big deal to me. I’m taking input from education professionals to craft a plan, and this is just an outline of my ideas. I will be fine tuning my plan as I speak with teachers and parents. I want to create a plan that works, and pushes our country forward.
If you would like to leave input on what you feel we need to change in our education system, please feel free to visit this quick survey to share your ideas. I am especially interested in what teachers and other education professionals have to say. Your input here will directly shape my education plan. I’m not a teacher, so I need your real world experience here. Thank you!