EDUCATION IS ZOE'S HOT BUTTON ISSUE - FOLLOW HER SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS FOR MORE ON HER THOUGHTS >>>>
All classrooms nationwide should have basic equipping requirements. In example every science classroom should have 1 microscope/3 students. Teachers should never be in the position to have to run a fundraiser for school supplies.
Student-to-teacher ratio should never exceed 20:1, and we must work to limit class sizes so that students can better engage in their education.
Special education classrooms should have 1 assistant for every teacher and the highest ratio should be 15:1.
Various incentives should be given to teachers to encourage well qualified individuals to teach in rural and poorer communities.
Comprehensive health insurance
Funding must be directed toward small, struggling rural school districts.
Broadband available at even the remotest sites.
Provide professional development and continuing education courses for our teachers the same as we do for our medical professionals.
A teacher rating system, based on an annual survey from students, parents, peers and administrators. The high and low score would be dropped.
Adjunct teachers, retired teachers and professors willing to teach one or two classes.
Fewer districts with a balanced workload and possible reduction in the number or salary of superintendents.
PLATFORM PROPOSAL >>>>
RE: EQUAL EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY
The US was once a leader for healthcare and education — now it ranks 27th in the world. We should not be in a position that requires us to import scientists and experts from other countries, many of whom are being educated at US universities. If we were doing it right, we would have the next generation of innovators walking out of US high-schools.
If we are to be successful in improving education, we must recognize that it does not itself exist in a bubble. Education is an intersectional issue that touches much of our daily lives. I will point to graduate medical education as an example. Oklahoma, along with the rest of the country, faces a shortage of primary care and specialist physicians, especially in rural areas. Although medical school class sizes are larger, we must lift the antiquated 1997 cap on residency positions so that more doctors can begin to practice. Large medical school classes do nothing when job opportunities remain stagnant. Additionally, we must offer grants, loan forgiveness, and other financial incentives to new doctors who are willing to practice in rural communities for 5 years upon graduation. We must also direct more funding to existing programs that help achieve these goals.
During my lifetime I have watched education take a backseat to many other issues. The fallout starts at a grassroot level where voters are presented with vague ballot choices, and local officials that see no direct financial benefit to their communities only a drain, on to a federal government not funding or addressing many of the issues that would once again make us a great world leader in all aspects of education.
While there are many social and societal issues that influence the youth of our nation, there is one place where each and every citizen, regardless of status, family size, or income can help make us once again a great country, and that is in our schools.
Each and every student should have a safe place to learn. They should have qualified, well-paid teachers. They should not be hungry. And again, all classrooms, regardless of location should be equally equipped with textbooks and supplies regardless of geographic location.
So now to compare a few states:
-Oklahoma (ranked 40th) spends about $4,500/student (one of the lowest rates in the US). Oklahoma’s GDP is 1.07%
-Nebraska a similar state (ranked 8th) spends $8,008/student. Nebraska’s GDP is .62%
-The Top state in the nation is Massachusetts
$9,713/Student GDP is 2.73%
-The Worst state in the nation is New Mexico
$5,418/Student GDP is .53%
So, on the face of all of this, it is only somewhat about how much money, but much more about how it is being spent. New Mexico with a very low GDP is spending more than Oklahoma per student but is failing at education if graded on a curve. Nebraska with a very low GDP is spending not much more per student but is much more successful.
By current law the States are ultimately responsible for managing the education in their respective states, but currently the federal government just dumps money into each state with no requirements other than test scores. The focus on these test scores has changed schools for the worse. They have resulted in the loss of many extracurricular programs and activities, as well as simple things such as the loss of good penmanship and the ability to read and write in cursive.
So, if it is not about money then what is it about? Based on the chart below (my home state and Nebraska), on the face of things it appears to be a more consolidated district system. Fewer Superintendents and more centralized teaching.
Nebraska vs Oklahoma chart >>>> Click here
Bottom line, while our public education is currently the responsibility of the states, we as Americans have an individual responsibility to fight for quality and equity. We need to focus on the future to become a leader in our future. We need to nurture our most important resource, our children, and we need to take care of our teachers to ensure they have the tools they need to mold our hearts and minds of tomorrow.