Teaching is one of the most important jobs on earth and the research tells us that quality teachers matter more to student success than any other factor. Teachers need to be respected and recognized with a system of rewards. Accountability should include many measures, over many times, to include student growth. Teachers do things for students that cannot be measured by just one test. Good teachers know this and see it. Focused professional development, more local provisions, and proper support, are all research-based, effective methods to attract and retain high quality teachers.
TESTING/SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment)
The purpose of testing is to check students’ understanding and improve teaching. Testing should not be attached to “cut scores,” or be used as a “weapon to shame” school districts. Sherri believes 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, and give respect to where each child started at the beginning of the year, and how he/she has progressed, over time. However, the SBAC testing that was invented to “police the standards,” is not in the best interest of Idaho’s children. The standards hold us accountable, not the tests. Also, the SBAC is expensive and still in the experimental stages.
The Idaho Legislature is responsible for allocating funds for education, and Sherri will be a champion in working with local school districts and the Idaho Legislature to provide adequate funding for Idaho schools and Idaho’s students.
Sherri will work effectively with members of the Idaho Legislature. Sherri is an educator first, but is also aware of economic realities and believes we must live within our means and utilize the tools we have. Allocating more money for education does not necessarily produce higher test scores, and Idaho students deserve better. They deserve an all-around approach of addressing the whole child. Sherri will work with all stakeholders: parents, educators, students, legislators, and taxpayers, for their valuable input on funding that impacts our students at the classroom level. For example, standards, programs, safety, accountability and achievement, to determine what is working and what isn’t. Studies show that eliminating a one-size fits all approach, and focusing on clearness and openness, while using a multifaceted method, is the way to improving education, rather than just increasing spending.
IDAHO LAND BOARD
According to Idaho’s Constitution and Idaho law, the Board is required to seek the maximum long-term returns on state lands to protect the long-term investment and interests for its beneficiaries, which are primarily public schools. Sherri will take her position on the Land Board very seriously and will be committed to protecting the long term financial returns while being a prudent investor. Idaho needs someone with an eye on fiscal responsibility who will build a model for financial sustainability in education. This model includes: up-to-date and accurate information, competent personnel, effective planning and budgeting, and the protection of assets to prevent financial shocks.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
Research tells 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. Sherri believes we must manage the challenges of our K-12 students, and particularly the current “fear-based” testing, or those problems are likely to trickle down to our most developmentally vulnerable group of children. Sherri does not support mandatory pre-school, but the opportunity should be available to all students, if they so choose.
IDAHO CHARTER SCHOOLS
They are public schools. With a focus on the whole child, parents and students deserve, and should have choices.