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Public Statements

Issue Position: Education Issues in Idaho

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

School Funding

Adequate school funding allows school districts to keep class sizes at appropriate numbers and keep important electives and programs available. I am not opposed to school vouchers. I know that schools are funded partially by the number of students attending, but if you have a great school with great programs, the students will attend. Competition makes us all perform better. What I will work for is less unfunded mandates either from the State or Federal Governments.

Teaching and Student Performance

I don't think it is a bad idea for students to be required to take at least 2 online courses. Everyone learns in different ways and, just as in the classroom, some will excel with online courses and some will struggle. I like the idea of students having e-textbooks on their laptops or e-readers that come with annual information updates and much lower costs than printed textbooks.

In 2003 a major international comparison[1] was made of 15 year old high school student skills. 41 industrialized nations and 250,000 students were involved in the sampling. The U.S. ranked 25th in math, 12th in reading and 20th in science. That's about a C grade by anyone's standards, pretty mediocre for the "world's greatest superpower". By comparison, Finland tied China for number 1 in math skills and it ranked number 1 in both reading and science.

This is my definition of student achievement: Students need to be informed and forward thinking, able to ration through and solve problems, able to conduct research on many levels, and taught to accept the consequences of their decisions. Measurements of their learning achievements can certainly be done through simulated problem solving exercises along with more challenging written tests and performance evaluations.

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