Policy for Education Excellence
L – Local Control
Those closest to students know them best and can make the best decisions regarding their educational needs, testing, curriculum, and placement.
Local School Boards are elected by the people. They have the responsibility to oversee their own school and must have the authority to make local decisions. The State Board should not be overriding local board decisions.
Nationalized testing takes away local control. It centralizes the control not only of the tests but also the curriculum which must align. If curriculum does not align with the test, students fail because they have not been taught what they are tested on. The National control of the test which we have right now under Superintendent Hofmeister will control curriculum which must align.
Student Individual Data should not be shared. It should be preserved in the local school and used only for the student’s benefit and not as part of a system built to serve business as the top priority. The goal of our public education system must be to provide the best education possible for each child and that can only be accomplished through Local Control.
E – Education Excellence
Excellence is achieved individually, one student at a time as they accomplish education goals to the best of their individual ability. Student motivation is closely tied to teacher involvement and engagement with the student. Teachers are the key to excellence in each classroom and must be allowed to make educational decisions according to their professional knowledge and experience.
Every student will succeed to the best of their individual ability as we make sure we are providing them the opportunity to learn in a community of caring adults who are focused on the student’s best interests.
A – Academic Standards
Experimental mandates have shifted the focus from academics. For our students to be able to succeed in careers and life they must have a strong academic foundation. Clear and measurable academic goals are needed at each grade level. The standards should be set as a goal that the student is working to achieve and never be used as an instrument of punishment. Our goal is to help students succeed not to put them in categories.
A strong academic foundation enables a student to learn any information and skill they will need to achieve their goals for life including their careers.
No single test is a comprehensive picture of a student’s ability. Not everything is measurable which is important. We must not use standards and tests to set a rigid system that forces students and teachers to work a process that is limiting to both. Teachers must be free to teach while having the guidelines of standards.
R – Return Funds to Classroom
This issue which has been a long time concern for me has recently been at the heart of the teacher walkouts in Oklahoma. I totally support getting the funds into classrooms where they are needed. We must do the hard work of discussion, debate, research and be listening to both sides of the debates to know for ourselves what we believe is the solution to solve this problem.
We can achieve the goals we set and work together to achieve them. We must listen and learn about all of the aspects involved in Local Funding as well as State Funding. That takes some time and effort to do. We elect our legislators and they have the authority in the House to write legislation addressing this issue, which must be passed in both the House and the Senate before it goes to the Governor who will sign it or veto. Let us have a statewide conversation and work to solve our classroom funding needs.
N – Now
It is time to reset the State of Oklahoma on a path to Education Excellence with Local Control, Academic Standards, Returning funds to classrooms and we need to do it Now!