Education

Provide the Best Education for Our Children

ACTION ITEMS:

  • Return local control
  • Encourage student and teacher performance
  • Support school choice

There are three lasting gifts we parents can give to our children: a sound moral compass, unconditional love, and a good education.

Education is critical to securing a rewarding job, higher take-home pay, more freedom, and a happier life. Parents, not Washington bureaucrats, are better able to determine the right education for their kids. The best education is closest to home.

To help our children learn, their performance should be regularly measured. Feedback and additional instruction can then be directed to struggling students. We should also help our teachers become top notch educators. Learning soars when great teachers inspire students. To assist our teachers, their classroom performance should be objectively assessed and appropriately rewarded. Additional training should be provided when needed.

For a number of years, I chaired the board of trustees at North Yarmouth Academy, one of Maine’s oldest and highest performing independent schools. The dedicated middle and high school teachers were greatly appreciated by parents and students and strongly supported by the administration and trustees. Teachers were rewarded and held accountable for their classroom skills, and the same for the students’ performance. Limited funds were not wasted on unnecessary expenditures that didn’t improve the educational experience for the students, many of whom received financial aid.

I strongly support the widest educational and school choices for students and their parents. Some young adults are comfortable with textbook instruction in a traditional classroom setting geared toward a four-year college degree. Others want a more hands-on environment to learn specific vocational/technical skills through two-year associate degrees at our community colleges. Some students choose to enter the labor force directly from high school. Some children thrive when home schooled. While growing up in Waterville, I studied at our public schools as well as at the parochial Sacred Heart School.

We adults should help every child find his/her passion and encourage it to grow. Students who drop out of high school are three times more likely to live in poverty than if they had graduated. We must help each student at least finish high school. School choice is an important ingredient to help our children stay in school, excel, and prepare for their futures.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until 2012 that Maine students experienced expanded educational choices offered to students in 40 other states. For many years, the teachers union convinced enough Maine legislators to ban publically funded charter schools. Even today, Maine students will benefit from the flexible curriculums of only ten charter schools statewide. Education should be about the children, not the adults.

I have lived and share the educational values of our 2nd District families. I will carry this experience to Washington and fight for local control, student and teacher performance standards, learning excellence, and school choice.