Jan 152015
 

Like much of our nation’s infrastructure, the average American public school is over 40 years old and past its expected lifetime. Most of our schools were built for the Baby Boom generation and more than a third of them need extensive repairs or complete rebuilding. Nationally, these construction cost estimates exceed $100 billion. However, when adding the cost of equipping schools with computers and other modern technology, this estimate nearly triples. Advocates say that when schools begin to deteriorate, student achievement does also. They say students learn best when taught in smaller classes and in adequate facilities equipped with technology and resources that help maximize their abilities and fulfill their potential. Currently, many of our public school students attend overcrowded schools with broken bathrooms, poor ventilation, leaking roofs and sporadic electric power. These conditions, among others, have caused many American families to seek alternatives to placing their children in our public school system. Statistics tell the tale of student-teacher ratios in private and public schools: 25% of our nation’s schools are now serving only 10% of our nation’s students. There are now more than 5 million PK-12 students, or about 10% of our nation’s total, attending about 31,000 private schools, which is about 25% of all our nation’s schools.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.1629 – Rebuilding America’s Schools Act

I oppose reforming current school facility policy and wish to defeat H.R.1629

I support making permanent the Qualified School Construction Bond and Qualified Zone Academy Bond programs to provide federal financing for the construction, renovation, and repair of America’s public schools, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce H.R.1629 – Rebuilding America’s Schools Act (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

American public schools are facing a teacher shortage of epic proportion. This is due to the retirement of Baby Boom teachers, increasing pupil enrollment, and laws limiting the size of classrooms. It is estimated we may need to hire at least 450,000 new teachers and administrators before the end of the decade to avoid a critical shortage. Particularly acute is the shortage of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teachers. Already, many school districts are short-handed and overly dependent on substitute teachers, many of whom are not certified. Compensation for teachers, particularly for public school teachers, has historically lagged behind other comparable occupations. Education advocates say this must change if a critical shortage is to be averted. Some advocates claim our teacher shortage is not so much a shortage in absolute numbers as it is in distribution. There has long been a shortage of teachers in certain geographic regions of our country. It has been difficult to find qualified teachers who are willing to teach in rural and urban areas, particularly in schools which serve low-income and minority students. Some claim that producing new and qualified teachers is not the problem, but that shortages are caused by high turnover rates, particularly among the most qualified and effective educators. Presumably, many of these professionals have moved on to more financially rewarding sectors.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.536: Diverse Teachers Recruitment Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current teacher shortage policy and wish to defeat H.R.536

I support recruiting individuals from underrepresented groups as public elementary and secondary school teachers, and providing training and retention incentives to public elementary and secondary school teachers, giving priority to applicants that serve the most high-need schools and those that serve schools with high concentrations of poor, minority, disabled, or limited English proficient students, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce H.R.536 – Diverse Teachers Recruitment Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

By 2010, the worldwide ranking of American students had slipped to 29th in math, 22nd in science and 20th in reading. There is great desire to raise the academic performance of our students. Most states have developed tests to evaluate the performances of students and teachers. Those results are then compared with the scores in other parts of the nation to improve learning conditions in the lesser-performing areas. Sometimes tests are used to blame teachers for poor student achievement. Teacher groups cite poor school facilities, crime and insufficient budgets as reasons why all our children are not performing as well as desired. Not surprisingly, a disparity has been found to exist in the quality of an education received by students living in high-income areas compared with their peers from low-income areas. Many administrators believe one reason our student’s performance is slipping is because each state does not teach the same academic material and skills. Their solution has been an initiative called he Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative which was created to establish consistent educational standards across the states. CCSS is a program that prescribes what k-12 students should learn in mathematics and English language arts/literacy by the time they complete each grade. If successful, all students will have attained the knowledge and skills necessary to graduate from high school, succeed in college and perhaps also in life, regardless of where they live. Forty-three states, the District of Columbia, four territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted CCSS. However, some states wish to set their own academic standards.

Pending Legislations:

S.1112 & H.R.768 – Securing Teacher Effectiveness, Leadership, Learning, And Results Act of 2013

H.R.2316 – Success in the Middle Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current school teacher policy and wish to defeat S.1112 & H.R.768 and H.R.2316

I support efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of school teachers and principals for comparison to their counterparts in other local educational areas, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce S.1112 or H.R.768 – Securing Teacher Effectiveness, Leadership, Learning and Results Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof.

I support Common Core State Standards and awarding grants to implement a comprehensive middle school improvement plan that describes for each school, what students must master to successfully complete middle and secondary school coursework; with priority given to schools with a high proportion of middle grade students that matriculate to secondary schools with graduation rates below 65%; schools with more than 25% of the students who finish sixth grade exhibiting key risk factors for failure; and a majority of middle grade students not rated proficient on required state assessments in mathematics, reading, or language arts, and wish to identify a legislator who will either reintroduce H.R.2316 – Success in the Middle Act of 2013 (113th Congress 2013-2014), or a similar version thereof.

 Posted by at 12:00 am