You cannot get more local control than when the people empowered to make decisions regarding a child's education are the parents that sit next to them at the kitchen table when it's time to do homework. I believe the best people to determine the educational needs of the child are parents. We should be doing everything possible to empower parents with tools and alternatives that they can use to ensure the success of their children. That said, we have to do more to empower our teachers in the class room as well. We saddle teachers with unrealistic restrictions that require them to teach to tests instead of to the child's ability and therefore we are forcing each child into one-size-fits-all programs. A good start would be to begin phasing out our dependence on No Child Left Behind. ***UPDATE*** Now that Georgia has been granted a waiver from NCLB, it's time to stop trying to manage the classroom from the Capitol.
Another note about education. I have had an opportunity to speak with people that hold a wide range of opinions about this important topic while campaigning. I am convinced that everyone, while holding differing views, wants to see what is best for the students. However, one of the most disappointing aspects of the debate that we have had in our community is the polarization and creation of an us-vs-them mentality. I think this has happened because of some of the actions of current leadership and the methods and verbiage used during the debate. We can do better. It is time for fresh leadership that can bring a fresh voice and level keel to the education debate in our community. I believe there is common ground to be had in this discussion.