Education of our children is one of the main responsibilities of state government, but is an even greater responsibility of the parents of children.
Accountability: In 2009, I authored the most comprehensive education reform bill to bring more transparency and accountability to the state’s largest expenditure – common education. In 2011, I followed this with a reform to grade schools with the same letter grades that the students receive to end a cryptic numeric score and better inform stakeholders about performance.
Ending Social Promotion: In 2011, I authored the bill which ended social promotion in Oklahoma and put in place a framework to make sure every student is prepared to read at grade level by the end of third grade and make sure they are as prepared as possible for success in upper grade levels before forcing them through when they are unready.
High Standards: I was one of the leading co-author’s of the Achieving Classroom Excellence Act, which increased standards to receive an Oklahoma high school diploma.
Home Schooling: I have consistently supported the rights of parents to be the principal educators of their own children.
Local Control: The state should set standards and benchmarks and leave the vast majority of decisions on how to achieve those results to local school districts, superintendents, principals, teachers and patrons. I also championed the ability for schools and teachers to be free from several mandates so they can best manage their classrooms.
Performance Pay: Teachers should be compensated as professionals and shouldn’t be paid on a schedule based on years of experience and degree held. They should help write the plans their local districts approve for performance pay models and the districts should have the options to pay their teachers in a different manner than a one size fits all approach. I have promoted and supporter Performance Pay programs that require multiple factors, including peer review, student achievement gains, professional development and overall school growth as basis for districts to write the own plans.
School Choice: Oklahoma’s middle and low-income parents should not be forced to have their children attend a school simply because of the affordability of the home in which they live. Wealthy individuals can afford to move to a different district or pay for private school. Choice in education results in higher achievement by students and by public schools. We should embrace choice, not be protectionists of a school system. I’ve been a consistent advocate for greater choice for parents in education.