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Talking Points: EDUCATION

posted Jan 22, 2014, 1:31 PM by Lane Siekman   [ updated Feb 14, 2017, 10:47 AM ]
Access to public education has been a cornerstone of the American dream for more than a century. Education is an investment in our economic future. It’s a simple truth America needs to excel in education to compete in the future. 

SUPPORT PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Public money for schools should only go to public schools. We have a long history of great public school system in Indiana that has benefited millions of children over the years. Quality public education is the key to our future: It must be available to all of our children from pre-k to high school, technical school and beyond. Indiana has some of the nation's best public schools and some of the nation’s poorest performing schools. We need to accelerate the academic progress of our students, extend options for early learning, provide resources and assistance to our low performing schools, and invest in getting great teachers in every public classroom. We need a cradle to career educational strategy.

FIGHT SCHOOL CHOICE AND VOUCHERS: Oppose the use of vouchers because they directly drain funds from public education that we can not afford to lose. We have a proud tradition in Indiana where public schools are often the anchor of their communities, representing values, traditions and ideals that have persevered across decades. Private schools are fine and provide a needed service but our commitment must be to preserve public education. School choice is no choice in many areas of the Sixth District.

END THE TESTING: Why don't we just teach our children all that we can and let life test them?  Testing has become an obsession with no real discernible benefits. It only benefits the testing company with a multi-million dollar contract. Taxpayers have NO idea what this is costing.  It is time to end ISTEP testing now. Assess based on student performance on real learning tasks. Give teachers real time information for teaching and let them teach the child instead of teaching to the test. 

SUPPORT TEACHERS: I think that quality teaching is the key to educational success. We must do more to improve teacher recruitment and retention. We must support programs that provide loan forgiveness to public school teachers and efforts to improve teacher quality through mentoring and collaboration. We need to trust our teachers.

EMPHASIZE EARLY LEARNING OF THE 3 R's: We need to continue to work on early learning and literacy initiatives because if students can’t read in elementary school they face huge barriers to later success. Attending high-quality pre-k has a lasting impact on a child’s success both in school and in life. Investing dollars in high-quality pre-k now yields significant returns later. Studies show a return on investment of seven dollars for every dollar spent.

MAKE COLLEGE AFFORDABLE: The rapid deterioration of America’s middle class is the most important economic problem of our time. One contributing factor is that the cost of college is out of reach for too many families. We must increase access to community, technical, and higher education institutions and address affordability. What's wrong with free tuition at a state school for our most capable students?