Issue Position: Education

Issue Position

As a former teacher, I care about our students and believe they deserve the best education possible. They are our future.

Having been in the classroom for 11 years, I am sympathetic to the struggles that educators across the nation face. Teaching is not an easy task so I am thankful for the many dedicated professionals across Missouri's Fourth District who sacrifice daily to educate our precious future generation. They are doing a great job.

As a parent, I share your belief that America's youth deserve the best education possible. Parents play a significant part in their child's motivation to succeed and learning progress. Education is best left to local schools and parents rather than the federal government. Parents know what learning experience is best for their children. While federal education initiatives often sound good, the numerous parents, school administrators, and teachers I know overwhelmingly confirm that federally directed initiatives often make it more difficult to teach. The cumbersome paperwork and regulations added by federal directives take time away from teacher/student learning time and harm the delivery of real content in the classroom.

To that end, I support the overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). I am in close communication with the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce about this bill. It is being strengthened and revamped by the committee. Any new legislation needs to provide local control and flexibility in efforts to promote accountability. We do not need to force states into a one size fits all mold.

I am encouraged that state and local leaders are already driving innovative solutions to improve student achievement and better teacher accountability. I am confident that advancements in education delivery and content will come from local school boards, dedicated parents, and community stakeholders to keep education strong in the Fourth District for years to come.

While working to address concerns with NCLB since assuming office, I have focused on bettering our education system in the following additional ways:

Working to Reauthorize Impact Aid: I am a co-sponsor of H.R.1342, the Local Taxpayer Relief Act that reauthorizes the Impact Aid program. Impact Aid helps local taxpayers by reimbursing school districts for lost property tax revenue due to the presence of tax-exempt federal property. Impact Aid provides critical funding to school districts nationwide that educate military children, children residing on Indian lands, and school districts where the federal government owns large parcels of property such as national parks or forests. Together, over 1,300 of impacted school districts educate more than 12 million children. Impact Aid is vital to school districts like Waynesville and Knob Noster where Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base are located. I am proud to be standing strong on their behalf.

Supporting Rural Schools: I am a co-sponsor of H.R.2485, the All Children are Equal Act. Rural schools are vital to enhancing the lives of rural Americans and will lead to building strong and prosperous rural communities. This bill corrects a major flaw related to number weighting in the current formula used to allocate Title I funds for the education of disadvantaged students. Title I funding was intended to send funds to school districts with a high concentration of poverty. Instead, the current formula systematically discriminates against the school districts it was intended to benefit: rural, small town, and moderate-sized urban school districts with a high concentration of low income families. This legislation, which could possibly impact several districts in our area, corrects the Title I formula and secures funding for school districts with the highest concentrations of low income children.

Promoting a Sound Pell Grant Program: Pell Grants play an important role in higher education. Authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Pell Grant program was created to provide grants to low-income undergraduate students to assist with access to post-secondary education. Congress will seek to continue funding for Pell Grants at fiscally responsible levels in the future.

As a former teacher who taught students in Lebanon and Belton, I am deeply committed to the education of our children. It is imperative we do all we can to ensure our children have the best education possible. We must encourage practices that develop independent learners, reward our best teachers, facilitate innovation in education delivery, and do away with policies that hinder their development. Our children deserve it.