I have always believed that local school officials and parents are much better suited to know what is best for their students, not the federal government. Consequently, my top priority for improving education is to remove burdens and let the state and local authorities decide what is best for our children. Currently there are many federal unfunded mandates on education which try to force a one-size fits all system on our children. The problems facing students in Springfield are different from the problems facing students in St. Louis, let alone California or New York. The federal government should empower local educators and parents with the tools needed to address problems as they see fit. Washington bureaucrats who have never set foot in the state of Missouri are not the answer.
The education of our children is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The years before a child reaches kindergarten are among the most critical in his or her life. That is why I support programs such as Parents as Teachers, which was started by Senator Kit Bond. This program gives 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 we must do what we can to keep students engaged through their elementary and secondary education. We must prepare our students to succeed in a global economy by giving control to our local educators. 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.