We cannot prepare for the future unless we invest in our education system and make it a national priority. The federal government only contributes 10.2% toward the cost of educating our children, and that number should be going up -- not down.
We should be investing in training teachers and principals, and we should pay for that investment by cutting the ridiculous bureaucratic landmines that drive the best and the brightest educators out of the profession.
We should be expanding efforts to give parents real choices for their children in the public school system. There are many ways to reform the system, and one size does not fit all. The focus should be on accountability, not finger-pointing. We need to target our limited resources in the classroom, not to administrative overhead. We must support teachers and principals who inspire and innovate as they help students meet rigorous academic standards.
Throughout my career in public service, I've worked to reduce classroom overcrowding, because our children and grandchildren who get increased individual attention will learn more. As a state legislator, I supported investing in K-12 classrooms -- building new ones, upgrading old ones and making them all safer -- to help relieve overcrowding.
I also successfully worked to pass legislation to re-invest in our public university and community college campuses. This investment continues to help train nurses, firefighters, police officers, paramedics and other essential professionally trained workers. Equally important, campuses were upgraded to support job training in high-technology fields such as bio-tech, green building and alternative energy.
Our long-term economic viability depends on quality schools and universities. We should be taking action now.