The state proficiency goal for 3rd graders to be able to read at grade level is 60%. This leaves too many young children struggling—the bar needs to be raised. This year the legislature invested in Upstart and other programs for young children. Due to potential funding shortfalls, implementation of these programs may be delayed. But even in hard times it is imperative we find a way to focus on early education.
I have heard too many stories of teachers leaving the profession because they can’t afford to teach. But from teachers themselves, I hear them asking for more school therapists and resources to help students. Rather than focusing on their own needs, teachers are looking at what students need most to succeed. Even during a time of possible budget cuts, ways exist to maximize what is given to support our teachers and students.
Local control, rather than state tests and grading of schools, is leading to success for struggling schools. During the last three years, Rep. Marie Poulson promoted a bill to remove letter grades from state school reporting. This year it was approved unanimously by the House but not heard in the Senate. I hear support for this move from all sides, and I will continue to vigorously support this initiative that Rep. Poulson started.
I am attending meetings with our State School Board Superintendent and other educators to find the answers to these questions. Together, we’ll find the answers to the following questions: