Providing for Utah's Future by Improving Education
1. Increased Parental Involvement
Nothing improves student achievement as much as parental involvement. No one knows their children, their abilities, their challenges, and their desires as much as a parent. Years ago I helped in my daughter’s classroom and served as PTA president in the elementary school. I knew very few of the 600 students in the school, so I was surprised that I knew almost all of the award winners in the quarterly awards assembly. I realized that the reason I knew the kids was because their parents were involved with the school and supported their children. Parental involvement increases student achievement, whether it is encouraging homework or helping in the school.
2. More Local Control
Parents need to be the center of their children’s education.More and more parents, grandparents and community members are becoming involved in education. Inherent in increased local control is the need for parents to be at the center of their children’s education. They need to be consulted, they need to have choices, and they need to be involved. Parents need to understand what is being taught and who controls the content of the curriculum. The key is collaboration. Local control is dependent on quality collaboration. We need to listen for understanding, be willing to compromise, and then roll up our sleeves and work together.
4. Individualized Learning
Parents who have spent time with more than one child know that all children are not the same. They have different interests and abilities and they learn at different rates. Strategies proven to maximizing and challenging the potential of each child and reteaching concepts that were not clearly understood must be employed. I believe the ability to individualize learning will help improve student learning and prepare kids for a bright future.
5. School Safety
Susan is championing school safety. Using data we can make decisions that will create a safer environment for children, teachers, and families. She is supporting legislation to collect data to make thoughtful decisions. She is working with local cities and schools to develop plans that improve the fiscal and emotional safety of our children in school and at home.
6. Strengthen Partnerships
Economic leaders express concern that there will be a shortage of qualified employees to fill the jobs they are creating. I believe one of the best ways to prepare students for these jobs is to strengthen our partnerships with businesses. Business leaders can identify qualities needed in an employee and provide resources to strengthen our programs. Communities benefit from an educated populace. Businesses benefit from high school and college graduates who are prepared for jobs in their fields.
3. Fund Classrooms First
We must prioritize spending to make sure we are funding those things we value most. It means differentiating between our wants and our needs. It means making hard choices. For me the primary goal of public education is academic achievement; it is ensuring every child learns every day. In addition, we must make sure the students in our care are safe. Improving student achievement means improving the ability of every teacher to reach every student. For this reason I believe we must make funding decisions with an emphasis on the classroom.