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Issue Position: Education

Issue Position

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The Kansas Constitution requires the state to provide a "suitable" education. The public, educators, legislators, and Governors have not developed consensus definition of that term. For me, a suitable education maximizes the student's ability to learn and utilize the information acquired. This means that a suitable education for a person with developmental or physical disabilities will be different than for a student in the "gifted" program. The objective will be the same -- to maximize the individual student's ability to learn and apply knowledge and skills -- but, the specifics of that education will be different.

I also believe that while the Constitution addresses primary (K-12) education, the state has a responsibility to provide affordable educational opportunities for pre-kindergarten students and college/vocational students -- including adults who return to school at any level to learn new skills. An educated population makes "better" citizens, contributes more to society, and has greater earning potential.

In addition to the traditional classroom approach to providing educational opportunities, I am a strong believer in the use of technology to increase student access to information. Distance education permits a teacher in one school building to reach students in many other buildings. I have witnessed a teacher of Latin based in Dodge City teach students in six other school districts, including DeSoto, using interactive Internet. Not only is this an effective means for students to take courses for which there is no local teacher, but our best teachers have the opportunity to reach students far beyond their own classroom.

As a primary sponsor of the legislation that created KAN-ED high-speed Internet system that links school districts, public libraries, universities, and hospitals, I work to ensure that every student can access the resources he/she needs to learn effectively. University students are taking more courses on-line, and it is part of my vision that students of all ages will have equal opportunities to access the U.S. Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Museum, and other educational information sources from their homes.


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