As an active education volunteer and math tutor since 1992, I am frustrated and worried about declining student achievement and unresponsiveness of the institutions to meet children's needs. No one group is to blame. The system as a whole is not able to respond to the individual nature of student learning. Even as a trustee on the Portage Public School Board, I was not satisfied with the level of change implemented to meet the needs of all children. I believe circumstances are critical and timing is right for a reform minded board to change the nature of the education system in Michigan for each and every child
What are your views about charter schools and cyber schools and their role in improving student achievement and reducing the education system’s cost?
Research shows engaged parents and excellent teachers are key to every single student learning. Choice offers opportunities to create a system that meets unique needs of each child. Parents must know their child is learning and making sustained progress. If not, they need alternatives. Teachers must have the freedom to teach professionally, working in a supportive environment. No single alternative will be a silver bullet, but a system of choices will meet many differing needs. Choice creates competition, which can help manage cost. Michigan education is well funded but how we spend must be reassessed.
What are the most pressing issues facing the State Board of Education and what actions would you take regarding them?
The implementation of Common Core Standards & Assessments is inappropriate use of time and money. This must stop. Efforts must be redeployed to engage and inform parents and support teachers in their efforts to teach all children. Teacher preparation and targeted professional development must be a top priority. The efforts underway to implement teacher evaluation systems must be directed to evidence based practices that improve student learning. Integration of 4-year-old programs into K-12 must be monitored to ensure the current successful models are not negatively impacted. The State Board must be accountable.