Monday, January 16, 2012
Spence's education plan: Let's get everybody together and make a plan
I am not one of those who puts down those who major in home economics, but GOP gubernatorial candidate David Spence, the businessman who underwhelmed us last week with his jobs plan, has remained consistent with his education plan.
It is full of right wing talking points and empty platitudes and has no new ideas, just warmed over slogans from the so-called reform movement, including elimination of teacher tenure and getting rid of those "bad" teachers. He likes charter schools, of course. A major point of his plan is to get everybody together to form a plan. Now that ought to inspire voters.
Dave Spence, Republican candidate for governor, today shared his principles for reforming Missouri’s public schools and better preparing students for higher education or the workforce. These principles will serve as the foundation for Spence’s “Back to Basics” education reform proposal, which will be a comprehensive plan developed with the input of parents, classroom teachers and public school students. Spence will also solicit the advice of respected national education reformers and policy experts as well as the Missouri business community in expanding his proposal.
“Without a doubt, job creation is my number one priority. That is why it makes perfect sense for me to push an aggressive education reform agenda. Education and economic development go hand in hand,” said Spence. “Our children cannot be competitive in the 21st Century workforce if we fail them in their formative years. I call on Jay Nixon to adopt these principles and immediately begin implementing them.”
Dave believes strongly in the need for quality education to create a skilled workforce and attract new high-paying jobs. With his success in business, Dave has generously given back to several educational causes. Spence’s former company, Alpha Packaging currently funds more than 20 college scholarships for the children of its employees. Additionally, Spence is a sponsor of a special entrepreneurial study program for students at the Trulaske School of Business at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dave’s wife Suzie, who holds a master’s degree in education from University of Missouri-St. Louis and is also involved in Community Alliance to Reinvigorate Education (CARE).
“I will bring together all the stakeholders in education to develop an immediate plan of action for education reform during my first legislative session as governor. However, this process will require vision and a leader unafraid to challenge education territorialism and the status quo. I’m not going to be a do-nothing governor that plays it safe. If people want to do the same old thing but somehow expect different results, Jay Nixon is their guy,” added Spence.
Dave’s initial “Back to Basics” education reform principles include:
•Let Teachers Teach- No Child Left Behind along with state testing requirements has made the ability to truly teach and advance students a part-time job. We must eliminate busy work for teachers to make more time for individual attention with students.
•Reward the Best Teachers- We need to work with local school districts to develop a merit-based pay incentive for teachers that focuses on student improvement during a school year.
•Keep the Best Teachers- The “last in, first out” policy for teachers must be addressed at the local level. If a teacher with two years experience is getting results while a teacher with ten years experience is not, we owe it to the students to keep the best educator.
•Rescue Failing Schools’ Students- Kansas City and St. Louis schools need help and quickly. Quit the blame game and form a committed group of community leaders, parents and state policymakers to get to a sustainable solution.
•Re-emphasizing Local Control in the Administration of our Schools- Local school boards and superintendents need the flexibility to implement educational programs and systems that fit the needs of their communities.
•More Education Options for Students- Students should have the opportunity for a more individualized education. That means we need to expand options, such as public charter schools, for all public school students.
•Many Paths, Same Success- A four-year college degree is not the only path to a successful career. We need to assist trade schools and community colleges, as well as set up an alternative platform for the students that simply want to learn a life skill and go to work.