In Congress, I will work to empower parents with better information and more options to make the right choices for their children's education and I will work to restore local control over our educational system.
I am the proud product of public schools and the son of a public-school teacher and principal. I was blessed with wonderful parents, teachers, and coaches who taught the skills, knowledge, and values needed for success in the workforce, which is why I support our public-school system. But I also strongly support parental choice and alternatives to the traditional public-school system, including home schooling, charter schools, and private and religious schools. Only parents can and should decide which path is best for their children. The federal government should treat all these options equally and neutrally.
Washington should not dictate choices to either parents or local school systems. Though No Child Left Behind was well-intended, it wrongly imposed a top-down, one-size-fits-all system of accountability and unfunded mandates. Federal education policy should encourage communities and states to develop their own curricula, tests, and standards, while promoting transparency and providing information needed to empower parents, students, and educators.
Finally, I believe that choice, competition, and freedom will help provide needed reforms to our public schools, as it does in free markets. I applaud the service of our great teachers, and the federal government shouldn't make their jobs harder. I will work to ensure federal law doesn't create obstacles to merit pay for our best teachers, alternative credentialing for new teachers, and local freedom to hire and fire teachers.