Political Platform

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I have been in our educational system; I had children in our educational system; I have children currently in our educational system; I hope to have another child in our educational system; and, I have been a teacher in our educational system. This is a very large topic, but please allow me to restrict myself to a few salient concerns. First, I start with the unquestionable premise that something is wrong with our educational system. As a country we spend more per student and our student world-ranking in reading, math and science is continually getting worse – a ranking of 20, 25, and 30 in the world standing. Excuses? Sure, there are plenty. Wow, time and space does not permit me to do justice to this topic. Hopefully, I can return and add more information later. But for now…. First, I have an extremely high regard for the calling and the mission of teachers to educate our children. I believe that they are significantly underpaid and should be paid more. I also believe that the good teachers should be paid more and the ineffective teachers should be paid less and the woefully ineffective teachers should be released. I note that Charter schools generally educate better than regular public schools but the rules are forcing the Charter schools to be subject more of the restrictions of the public schools. This makes no sense to me. I am opposed to the National Education Association, the largest professional organization and largest labor union in the United States, which had a budget of more than $307 million for the 2006-2007 school year. I am opposed to the teachers retirement system which is not part of the Social Security System. I believe they should be in the Social Security System for many reasons. I think that education concerns and oversight should be at the State level. At the fundamental level, I think there are too many “feel-good” practices, policies and courses in our school system and not enough focus on “basic education”. One short example. My two sons were poor readers. I believe that reading is tremendously important and an essential life-skill because one can education themselves through reading. I was very distressed at their low reading skills. Several summers ago I committed them to Dad’s reading course for the summer. It was one hour per day, five days a week, with one-on-one skill-training (that’s two hours per day for me). I won’t go into my techniques now due to time and space limitation, but in the end, I estimate they improved two grade levels in reading skills the following year. Unfortunately, the next summer I didn’t enroll them in Summer II reading course, and their skill level diminished. I can’t help but wonder how our students would improve with year after year of proper reading education in the school system. This really upsets me, and this is only one issue I have with the schools and our education system. Oh, and one more point on reading (my blood pressure is up). Several years ago I noticed a reading book that one of my sons brought home from school. I not only looked at the book, I read the book. In essence it was a “social training” book. It was about high school students in a broken home and all the drug problems they were facing. HUH? Just what kind of text reading book was this? Well… it was one of a series of School District approved reading material. Why can’t reading course material impart positive values. There is plenty of entertaining stories about United States history and classic stories written by world renown writers. Good Grief, I am frightened. I believe that the first mission of schools is basic, classical education, and that it should NOT be an indoctrination opportunity to impose social or political sensitivity training on our children.