I believe in local control, which should include a combination of state and federal. States need more control because states are the laboratories of democracy. What one state does well can be learned by another state. But there does need to be some basic standards for our nation. For example, it should be required to go get an education through 12th grade.
My plan from a state perspective is to combine agencies in order to become more efficient. I will work with the unions to be able to remove poor-performing teachers. Education should be student-centered. Before every decision I make at the state level, I will ask the question: How does this affect the student? Does this improve the student’s educational experience or not? If the answer is yes, then it’s something we need to continue to focus on. If the answer is no, then something is wrong with the proposal. I will combine jobs through attrition, so that no jobs are lost. However, we must be more effective moving forward. If it doesn’t affect the student at all, we need to reevaluate the importance of the position. Budgets are worthless without a balance sheet, so I’ll develop a statewide balance sheet.
I believe in school competition and I support school choice, but with some modifications. For school choice to work, we also need parallel support for public schools and a system of accountability for charter schools. Our family believes that education starts at home and motivation comes from the family. We will therefore work to improve family support and parental involvement. That’s the number one solution. But we also understand that in many cases the child will need to figure out his/her source of motivation on his/her own. My wife’s First Lady SAM Program (Sports, Arts, Music) addresses the issue of student motivation by inspiring kids to succeed in education with life lessons learned through Sports, Arts, and Music. This will be her first priority as First Lady and education (student-centered, efficiency and results) will be my first priority as Governor.