Un-shackling local school systems. Fortunately, I have been given the privilege of serving on the House Education Committee, where I have opposed direct state control over schools, helping defeat efforts to undermine local system powers; like imposition of a state wide school calendar, insertion of haphazardly chosen curriculum standards, mandates making schools responsible for controlling childhood obesity, and many needless paperwork generating proposals.
My philosophy about education legislation is guided primarily by the obvious goal of helping children attain the abilities necessary to have a successful career in an ever more information based economy. But I also receive a great deal of insight from "the trenches". My wife is an elementary school librarian, and I learn about situations from her every day concerning the frustrations that most teachers feel, and which keep them distracted from real educating. They can hardly believe that many children arrive in pre-K or Kindergarten, and don't know colors, numbers, shapes or letters. Those kids are behind from the moment they arrive at school!
Yet you might find it interesting that our county schools produce graduates who go to the finest universities in the nation. That tells me that the opportunity is there, if children (and especially parents), want to take advantage of it. We need to un-shackle our schools so that they can get the kids who are behind up to speed. And, equally importantly, so that they can help educate the community about the responsibilities and attitudes new parents must to take when they bring children into the world.
Like money, education does not grow on trees - it's provided by the taxes you and I pay. I expect that a service that I pay for be treated with respect by the children and parents who benefit from it, and I suspect most other taxpayers feel the same way. Thus Education is a privilege, not a right - and it's time we started treating it that way!
To get these things done, I will continue to work closely with other legislators, but I will also make every effort to communicate and coordinate with local officials, whatever their party.