PRE-K EDUCATION REFORM
Education begins very early in a child's life. Pre-K prepares a child to adjust to the learning environment that will occupy his/her life for almost a third of their lives.
This part of their educational life should also be part of the public education system and be free of cost to parents. I will fight for this necessary reform at the State level if elected to the House.
K-THRU 12 EDUCATION REFORM
Nashville produces 1/3 of the State's tax revenue, but our schools are severely underfunded. If elected to the State House I will work hard to reform a more equal distribution of school funding.
Tennessee and Washington DC school systems have been rated and actually pilloried and publicly humiliated in the recent past for having the worst education system in the country. Although there has been some improvement recently in Tennessee, much more reforms are needed to upgrade educational standards.
I have a few reforms that could greatly improve our national test score ratings and make Nashville much more attractive to new industries looking to locate their operations where there is a well educated work force that would greatly enhance employment for a rapidly growing populace.
1. Stop testing new immigrants and refugees for at least three years, until they learn English. When test scores of these folks are blended in to Tennessee's overall scoring, they damage the ratings unjustly, and make Tennessee look very bad nationally. This adversely effects all types of school funding.
2. Take the very best features from the Common Core program and give school principles more authority to implement improvements, vetting teachers, and educating based on the needs of their students.
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Education is the golden ticket to prosperity. By any measure, education drives future success for individuals and the economy as a whole. I have made it my top priority and a sharp focus on all options available to ensure that the children of our state have access to a quality education. That is why in my first and second term at the Metro City Council I have supported proposals that places greater power into the hands of parents and why I have proposed common-sense reforms to raise our academic standards. However, there is much to do with education that the Council doesn't have control over and that is another reason why I am running for State.
The danger of losing the benefits is apparent If we continue on the unsustainable path of pricing students out of our public universities. Tuition at our state universities is increasing faster than income growth and it is becoming more difficult for students to graduate from college without taking on a paralyzing debt burden.
For example, in the last decade, tuition and fees at The University of Tennessee have risen from roughly $4,800 to $11,800. Looking at these numbers another way, a decade ago, tuition and fees represented 12 percent of the median household income of Tennesseans. Now, tuition and fees represent 28 percent of the median household income.
The days of a student working his or her way through college or parents sending children through on a middle-class income are rapidly fading. We have reached a point where the cost of tuition is not affordable for many of those who need our state’s public universities the most.
As a State Legislator, once elected, I would fight for and promote any legislation that will bring stability and halt these escalating tuition costs in Tennessee public universities.
Freezing the cost of tuition for students for all four years is a good option. This will enable students to have a more concise picture of the total cost of a degree and allow them to budget and plan ahead with more accuracy.
The methods used to determine tuition is flawed, but can be greatly improved. By fixing this problem it will support and encourage students to pursue their academic endeavors and protect access to the American dream for all Tennesseans.