I am a father of three children who graduated from public school systems and went on to public universities, and my wife works as a school nurse. I understand the important role education plays in our children's futures and in our state's economic development.
Education should be a top priority for any elected official. I believe that the government should place an emphasis on education, but decisions should be left to parents, teachers and local officials.
The primary source of federal aid to K-12 education is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), particularly its Title I, Part A program of Education for the Disadvantaged. The ESEA was initially enacted in 1965 (P.L. 89-10), and was most recently amended and reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB, P.L. 107-110), which authorized virtually all ESEA programs through FY2008. It is widely expected that the 112th Congress will consider whether to amend and extend the ESEA.
I do not believe that a one-size-fits-all approach to public education is acceptable; as we have seen the status quo result in great frustration among educators, parents and students. The 112th Congress needs to seize the opportunity to reauthorize and overhaul NCLB to address the clear failures and bureaucratic funding maze that is currently in place. We should allow states and schools to have the ability to set their own innovative priorities and receive maximum flexibility in advancing those priorities.
Updated July 25, 2011