Public education is one of the most important institutions in our country, an institution in which the public has always played a role. It is the public who elects school board members, pays taxes to support public schools, votes for school bond referendum, and visits and volunteers in the schools. Public schools, in turn, transmit important values and information that help young people participate in our democracy and become responsible citizens. Clearly, education is important to all members of society given its impact on the community, the economy, jobs, safety, and health.
– The skill level of the population increases national productivity and leads to higher salaries.
– The better educated a person, the more likely that person is to report being in excellent or very good health.
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– The more education a person has, the more likely that person is to be registered to vote and to actually vote.
– There is a strong relationship between the drop-out rate and crime among many young males
Many candidates are vocal about their support for public education, but voters can do a lot to ensure that elected officials are aware of the wide range of important education issues, and that they honor their commitment to education. This voter guide is designed to help voters focus on important education issues and ask political candidates and office holders informed questions.
Strong Public Education Candidates:
– Know about school reform and ways to improve public schools
– Know education policy; the federal, state, and local laws that govern public education; and the responsibilities of the desired office
– Make education a high priority in their political platform
– Solicit opinions and viewpoints from citizens through polling, town meetings, community conversations, and face-to-face discussions
– Have prior experience with public education policy
– Have a clear message about public education priorities
– Have a realistic funding plan to support public education improvements and ensure adequate resources for all schools
– Communicate who will be held accountable for student and school performance
Questions for Candidates
A quality public education requires the assurance of basic physical needs: shelter, nutrition, physical safety, sleep, and exercise. Quality education begins at an early age with the development of cognitive and social skills. A candidate who supports education will have a clear position on a wide range of health and other children’s issues.
– What proposals, if any, do you offer for public programs to support underserved children?
– What is your position on the value and importance of education?
– What are your top priorities for improving public education?
How well students achieve is only partly determined by students themselves. Schools play an important role, and elected officials at every level have some say in how schools are run and who is held responsible for student achievement. Strong education candidates understand the role their offices play in public education, and should be able to articulate what they will do to improve school quality.