The question I get asked the most while on the campaign trail is ”Why are you running for State Board of Education?”
After all, I am not a professional educator or school administrator. A quick glance at the current makeup of the Board shows most members have decades of service in either government or the public school system. As a result, many people think such experience is a requirement, and are therefore curious about just what exactly someone from outside the system can bring to a body whose mission is to ensure all students will graduate well prepared for success.
While it is true that educators and administrators are well represented on the current Board, there is one key partner in the educational process that can never have enough representation: the parents of children currently in the public school system. Not taking anything away from teachers and administrators (whose experience is vital), but what group could possibly have more insight on the impact that our current educational system, and the near-endless standardized testing it is based upon, has on our children than their parents?
My goals are simple. I want to return as much control over the educational process as possible to the parents, teachers, and administrators who make up our state’s local school districts. As a parent of four children, each with very different styles of learning, I have spent considerable time and effort studying new and innovative methods of reaching them. I feel strongly that self-directed and project-based learning represent the future of public education. I am happy to say that I have found many educators, including several across District 3 who have seen first hand the harm caused to public education by the standardized testing industry, that agree.
Like most parents, I want my children to have the best education possible. Like many of those same parents, private school is not an option for my children; but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the same opportunities that children in private schools have. They deserve the opportunity to learn by using teaching methods designed to reach them based on how they learn best, as opposed to trying to make them all fit into the same “box”.
They also deserve the opportunity to have the best educational tools available at their disposal. This can happen for every school district, but only if we eliminate all of the overhead that comes with the current “top-down” educational model and replace it with one based on local control; one that keeps money out of Columbus and Washington, D.C., allowing it to instead be spent in the classroom where it belongs.
In short, I want their schools to have the opportunity to focus more on learning and less on evaluations. To me, that is how we ensure all students leave school well prepared for success.
Why am I running? For these four kids right here, and the countless more just like them all across our great state. If you agree that it is time to take a new approach to public education, I’d appreciate your support on November 6th.