Where I sit:
I'm on the Appropriations & Revenue Committee, through which every education funding bill must pass. I'm also a member of the Kentucky Retirement System Funding Work Group and a member of the State and Local Government Committee. That positions me to look out for the interests of our current and retired educators.
Where I stand:
Education really begins when a mother with proper pre-natal care delivers a healthy baby into a stable home where there's lots of interaction with the newborn, including a nightly bedtime read. Public policy should help make it possible for every youngster to get that kind of start
The early years are most important, so preschool and kindergarten for all is the right policy goal. In the elementary and secondary years we need to properly fund well-prepared teachers, as well as principals who empower them to do their best work. That means prescriptive, individualized learning, and cutting edge technology when it can help. We need to keep shoring up teacher pensions, so that worries about their future don't intrude into their work. We need wraparound services for kids from difficult and deprived backgrounds. Testing is helpful and standards are necessary, but there's nothing like the magic that happens between an inspired teacher and a student who is ready to learn.
Post-secondary education is about helping young folks become job-ready, whether with technical, vocational or college education. We're not fully funding any of those. There's no higher priority than more and smarter support for education. We want job-prepared and citizenship-ready graduates who are equipped to adapt and compete in a dynamic modern economy. This year's proposed campus budget cuts were, as one president put it, draconian. We must do better.