K-12 Education

K-12 Education

We have a strong tradition of excellence in education here in Minnesota and keeping this reputation strong is one of my top priorities.  To accomplish this we need to be vigilant in our innovation and reform.  There is no “golden ticket” to instantly fix underperforming schools or poor test scores.  Keeping our tradition of excellent education strong requires a combination of approaches.  These include innovating, raising standards, prioritizing funding and supporting the roles of parents and teachers.

Education

We live in a global society, where news travels as fast as one can tweet and the latest iPhone App soon becomes obsolete. Our economy moves to the tune of technological innovation and advanced university degrees. While education does not guarantee success, success is difficult without a quality education. As such, we must ensure our children receive the best possible education early on.

Innovate and Raise Standards

One thing we must do is focus on innovation and allowing more local control.  These go hand-in-hand.  Giving school districts to have more control allows them to be more responsive to the needs of students.  Local control also spawns innovation, as teachers are able to find the most effective way to educate children rather than being forced to follow a formula.  By raising standards teachers are incentivized to utilize these new methods of education to engage children in the learning process.  The results are higher test scores, smarter children and a bright future for Minnesota.

Funding

The first of these initiatives is simple.  The era of exploding state revenues and automatic funding increases across the board is over.  We, as a state, need to determine what areas are most important to us and fund them accordingly.  By budgeting on priority order, we can ensure the most important budget areas receive full funding.  I support all efforts to implement this style of budgeting and making K-12 education funding the first priority to receive funding.

Parents and Teachers

Studies have shown time and again that the greatest factor in academic achievement is parental involvement. It helps prevent high school drop outs, improves grades and increases academic motivation and enthusiasm. We should encourage measures within our schools, families and communities that support parents’ involvement in their children’s education.

It is also important to provide teachers with the support structure to do their job well. This session I joined the K-12 Mandate Reduction Working Group. We search for ways to take the fetters of unnecessary regulation and requirements out of schools. This freedom will improve teaching methods based on what actually works in the classroom. By empowering parents and teachers we can ensure our education system works for each individual child.