Issue Position: Education
I am committed to making sure every Kansas student has an opportunity to access a quality education. While we have good schools in Kansas, we can do more to prepare our children for the future.
Part of preparing our children to be successful means providing educators with the resources they need to effectively meet the needs of their students. Congress plays an important role, but must be careful not to pass laws that restrict local ingenuity and development. Instead, we should allow school districts to determine how to best use federal resources.
Congress is scheduled to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which requires more testing due to higher accountability standards. Having many concerns with this new federal mandate, I voted against NCLB in 2001. Before NCLB, Kansas was already testing students and evaluating school performance. While accountability is important and necessary, more time must be spent teaching in the classroom rather than preparing for and taking tests. As a rancher would say, "if you want fat cattle, you need to feed them, not just weigh them."
I have spent much time gathering input from Kansas educators and parents and have taken their suggestions and authored the Practicality in Education Act, which brings common-sense reforms to NCLB. Earlier this year, I testified before the House Education and Labor Committee to make sure other lawmakers understand the unique challenges Kansas schools, teachers and students face. As Congress considers changing NCLB, I will work to see that the reforms proposed in the Practicality in Education Act are included so that NCLB is less burdensome and more workable for our Kansas students, parents and educators.