As our economic prosperity continues throughout the state, we should be increasing our investment in the next generation of North Dakotans through our colleges and universities. The Roundtable on Higher Education was successful in implementing policies and processes that allowed for the creation of Center of Excellence, which enhanced relationships between our colleges and universities with the business community and the federal government. While the flexibility and adaptability the Roundtable afforded advanced opportunities, state funding to each college and university has proven to be inequitable. I support the implementation of a new funding model for North Dakota colleges and universities that aligns institutions with the funding of their peer institutions.
The teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators and parents of our K-12 system continue to be the backbone of our communities. Our student's perform exceptionally well on most standardized tests and graduation rates are above the national average. School personnel are innovative in their delivery and curriculum, with much of this innovation being funded through the personal financial commitment of teachers and paraprofessionals. I support the implementation of a Centers of Excellence model for K-12 education that promotes and rewards innovative, fact-based curriculum design and delivery methodology in classrooms throughout North Dakota.
We know that the earlier a child has access to education, the more likely that child will perform better in school and graduate. In Fargo, there are well over 100 children on the waiting list for Head Start. Due to lack of funding from the federal government, Fargo Public Schools is phasing out the Even Start Literacy Program. We as a community and a state can do better for our children. I support the increase of funding to support and expand programs like Head Start and Even Start in Fargo and throughout North Dakota.