The Common Core of Education:
There are some valid concerns and challenges surrounding the adoption of the Common Core; however, Idaho realized what the research confirmed…..that our students needed more. The Idaho Common Core is the critical first step towards achievement. But we can’t stop there, the Common Core’s challenges can be managed, if you continue with a focus on proper implementation and support. For example, we need aligned professional development and more tools for teaching, managerial independence for our leaders, and aligned assessments that aren’t fear-based, or considered “high-stakes.”
I will be the superintendent who aggressively seeks to return control of schools to the local Boards and who drags my feet on any direction towards Federal or State top down control.
As future Superintendent of Public Instruction, I will spend a lot of my time working with the State Board of Education to ensure mandates are properly carried out. I can make recommendations in regards to funding, and I plan on doing that, but first, I need an opportunity to see what’s working for Idaho. I am very student-centered, and maintaining
a vision on the top three priorities can enhance our revenue and show high returns on our investment. Maintaining a vision on the top three priorities (21st century abilities, assessments, and safety & support) will enhance the revenue in the state of Idaho.
1) 21st Century Abilities:
Our world is changing, and quickly. Students need good skills in communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and technology to compete in today’s work force, and a very mobile society.
Focusing on the whole child, we need broader measures of growth and achievement that builds on diverse learners. The purpose of assessments is to check students’ understanding and improve teaching, it should not be fear-based or attached to arbitrary “cut scores,” or specifications. Keeping in mind students are whole human beings, not a quantitative number. I believe in high expectations and accountability for everybody; therefore, a test that students take in the beginning of the year, and again at the end of the year, will show growth that’s developmentally appropriate to each child, as an individual.
3) School Safety & Support:
Addressing the whole child includes their safety, and nothing is more important. Safety impacts a student's ability to learn and develop; therefore, I support a few of the Idaho School Safety Task Force recommendations, because preparation is one of the most critical and essential first steps a school can take.
Research keeps telling us that early childhood education programs better prepare children for kindergarten. Children who participate in early childhood programs have better language skills and are less likely to repeat a grade or need remediation services; however until we manage the challenges of our K-12 students, and particularly the current “fear-based” testing regimen, those problems are likely to trickle down to our most developmentally vulnerable group of children.
Idaho Charter Schools:
They are public schools. With a focus on the whole child, students should have choices, especially if they are suffering, for whatever reasons. Truth of the matter is, there is not enough funds for either traditional or charter schools, and we need to stop disputing over
education choice, which has been around for a long time. Again, thinking about what’s best for our students.