As a member of the House Education Committee, Christine debates the issues facing our educators, students and parents every day. Accessible, affordable, high quality education closes the opportunity gap. We must continue to provide a strong and vibrant public education that values the whole child. We must invest in our schools and in programs that develop 21st-century skills for our children. To achieve excellence in education for all students, all stakeholders must come together to develop programs that prepare our students. We must value the challenging work our teachers face each day, and we need to provide them with the tools and resources they need to reach every child's potential for learning.
Improving K-12 Schools
K-12 public education is a critical element of a thriving society. Equal access to educational opportunities must be achieved. We must provide families with local options under local control that best meet the needs of communities while still preparing our children for the rigors of an ever-changing digital and global society. We must adequately fund our schools. We must commit to investing in our students once again. Our children are more than test scores. We need to fund innovative programs customized to each child's abilities. We need to measure an individual's progress when evaluating the effectiveness of programs. Measuring success on test scores and dashboard metrics only adds to administrative burden. We must focus our efforts on educating students, not taking tests.
Closing the Achievement Gap
We know there is work to be done to make sure students from all income levels, races, and abilities are progressing in their academic and social development. We need to support efforts to involve parents, guardians, community organizations, and the business community to take an active role in welcoming all families and supporting programs that target their needs for additional resources and guidance in their education.
Making College Affordable
For many families, sending their children to college just isn't an option because it's too expensive. We need to improve affordability by working with vocational (skilled trades) schools, community colleges, colleges and universities to find ways to bring costs down, and working with business and community resources to help families get the scholarships and financial aid they need.
Head Start and preschool programs are the foundations for starting children on a solid path for lifelong learning. Research has shown that for every dollar invested in early education, three dollars are paid back in cost avoidance of prison, unemployment, and welfare programs. We must invest in early literacy programs to ensure that all children are reading at grade level by the completion of 3rd grade.
Our funding, policy, rules and laws for educating children and young adults with special needs are broken. We have an obligation to educate all children to provide them with the opportunity to reach their full potential. We need stronger state legislation and rules that effectively coordinate federal policy with the implementation at the local level.