Improving Education

grad-capEducation is vital for our country to maintain a competitive edge in today's world market, and a fundamental component of our society. I believe local officials are in the best position to make decisions about their schools and curriculums, and I also believe it is important to insist on performance from both our students and teachers so children leave our schools with a foundation for success.

While there is much to tout about No Child Left Behind, the law should be revisited. I worry that teachers are placing so much time and energy on readying students for tests that learning - and the joy and magic from learning - can take a backseat. I believe there should be greater flexibility in testing for students with disabilities, class size reduction, the formula for "failed" schools, and the role of counselors.

As a parent, I understand the astronomical cost of sending children to college, and the need for financial aid and Pell grants. I have always supported increases in Pell Grants, but I do not think it was prudent in this economy to potentially limit students' access to student loans. I thought we had a good balance with students able to take out both federal and private loans, and I'm not sure gutting an industry that employs 30,000 in this economy, with no debate on the Floor, makes sense right now. I'm also troubled that this was done through the reconciliation bill associated with changes to the health care overhaul. I tend to worry whenever the federal government takes a sudden expanded role or jumpstarts a new program on short notice. I am reminded that the federal government was so overwhelmed by the Cash for Clunkers program that it couldn't even cut checks in just two amounts in a timely fashion. The transition to this new program must be seamless so college educations are not disrupted.

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