Newsletter: Long's Short Report - Importance of Education


Date: Nov. 14, 2014
Issues: Education

I recently attended a Celebration of Schools event at Missouri Southern State University to honor area schools and their commitment to the students in our district.

The education of our children is a once in a lifetime experience. The years before a child reaches kindergarten are among the most critical in his or her life to influence learning. Education begins with active, engaged parents long before students are enrolled in school. We know that being prepared to learn is as important as the process of learning itself.

I am a strong proponent of programs, such as Parents as Teachers, which give parents the resources they need to best prepare their children for school. Such programs encourage parents to become more engaged in their children's learning process from an early age. I also believe that we must do what we can to keep students engaged through their elementary and secondary education. Whether that means preparing them for a community college, a career or technical institution, a four-year university, or the workforce, we must give our students the tools to succeed.

Higher education is becoming almost mandatory in today's society. Unfortunately our higher education system is in a state of crisis. Too many students are finding themselves with a significant amount of debt as they enter a severely recessed job market. I support increased transparency so that student borrowers can make informed decisions as they choose which program to study and how to finance their education.

However, we cannot do everything for everyone and in these pressing economic times, we must carefully spend hard-working taxpayers' dollars. Washington bureaucrats who have never set foot in Missouri are placing costly and ineffective burdens on our school systems and not solving any of the problems. That is why I support working to ensure student success by restoring local control to educators. The challenges our educators face in Southwest Missouri are different from those faced in Massachusetts or California. The federal government cannot expect to craft a one-size fits all approach.

For all of these reasons and more I supported legislation (H.R. 5) during this Congress that would reauthorize and reform the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind. While President Obama's administration simply continues to grant states temporary waivers from the law's most onerous requirements, my colleagues and I in the House are leading the way to remove one-size-fits-all federal accountability mandates, eliminate and consolidate more than 70 existing and duplicative federal education programs, and to protect state and local autonomy over decisions in the classroom.

In the coming 114th Congress, when education bills come before Congress please know that I will continue to support efforts that take power away from Washington bureaucrats and give more control to the states.