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Public Statements

Issue Position: Education

Issue Position

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Education is the key factor for long term success in recruiting jobs with advancing technology companies.

We need to coordinate our efforts with public education, technical schools, and colleges to assure that their educational programs meet the needs of high-tech industries we are recruiting into the 7th District. High-tech industries demand a technology-competent workforce. This will require teaching new skills in a wide array of fields. Students will be encouraged to gain training and skill through apprenticeships, which is viewed favorably by prospective technology companies.

As we continue recruiting new companies from around the world, our mutual success will become self-perpetuating in that we will be mutually dependent on the success of each other.

It is important that educators throughout the district understand and buy into our recruiting strategies. I plan to conduct meetings with our educators, from career counselors to principals, to seek their input on how we can work together.

Many jobs in the fields of technology are well suited to students who may not be high academic achievers. While every student may not be college- bound, every student should be bound for a trade or occupation that allows them to earn a living wage and attain the American dream.

I believe the "no child left behind" governmental mandates place a disproportionate emphasis on academics and high-stakes test results while neglecting crafts, skills, and other valuable talents student's possess. This imbalance has lead to frustration for students who may be less academically inclined, but who possess hidden talents valuable to the community. As a consequence, these students are more likely to drop out of school which limits their ability to find gainful employment.

Conversely, in a system based on one-size-fits-all standards, academic over-achievers are also often prevented from reaching their true potential. As a result, many of our most academically gifted students see public education as a poor choice and turn to private schools to complete their education.

It is the opinion of many educators that "no child left behind" contains significant flaws. It makes no allowances for a variety of circumstances a child may be experiencing that impact his or her academic performance in the public school system.

Amber Sundown-Schwartz, a Senior Education advisor with our campaign, makes this point about the "no child left behind" model: "NCLB creates arbitrary standards that all children are expected to meet no matter their academic, economic, health, or social background. This is like expecting everyone who has picked up a basketball to make the NBA. Even if you lower the standards, would you expect every player to make their college team or even their high school team? If you continue to lower expectations to the point where everyone who picks up a basketball makes the NBA, do you really have a meaningful standard at all? If you lower the standards to such a point that everyone makes the team, are those with natural talent challenged to reach their full potential? We know that academic ability varies as much as athletic potential. Can we really expect all children to meet the same academic standards by passing the same high-stakes test?"

I believe educators should factor in children's technical comprehensions, unique skills, and/or talents as part of the educational process, particularly in our public school system between Kindergarten and 12th grade. Our society has need for all of these unique skills and talents. They express themselves in jobs ranging from firemen to carpenters. New inventions and technologies are often the result of these unique skills and talents.

I believe academics in education are important. I also believe the skills, talents, and unique abilities of students who function best outside the academic arena are equally as important in order for society to function as a whole.

As your Congressman, my challenge is to provide opportunity for people from all walks of life. Let's get to work building an educational strategy that will lead us to a new and invigorating future for our youth; one that paves a highway of economic opportunity, job security, and a better quality of life for all citizens living in our District.


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