Texas public schools are not providing the quality education our children need. Most surveys show our schools rank near the bottom in terms of education quality.
We can change this.
First, let's quit "teaching to the test." Every hour spent teaching to achieve a higher test score on some test is an hour not spent on the lesson. Most experts believe that while some testing is necessary its over-emphasis is harmful.
Right now there is a nationwide shortage of teachers and the problem will worsen over the next decade as more teachers retire. Teacher pay is the single biggest reason for the lack of qualified people seeking to enter the field. This is even truer in Texas where teacher pay is significantly lower than the national average.
The reality is this the better the pay the better the teacher.
Class size is another key area that must be addressed if we are going to be serious about quality education; there simply is no substitute for this. Study after study has shown that smaller class size is essential. My own teaching experience can attest to the real difference the number of students you are teaching at one time can make.
While these changes would no doubt add to the immediate cost of education it is a bargain in the long run. Studies show students repeat grades less, have greater subject understanding, and that graduation rates increase.
Imagine the quality business and industry we could attract to the area if our schools ranked in the top rather than the bottom ten percent. Envision the opportunities a true quality education would afford our children and grandchildren.
In Congress I would work for an overhaul of federally promoted programs such as No Child Left Behind. In addition, I would fight to get more federal funding with fewer strings attached to it, so that our schools can put the money where it is needed rather than where someone in Washington thinks it should go. Finally, I would push for a federal program to help us get the additional quality teachers we need.
There is much to do in order to really improve education in our district and together we can do it.