American greatness depends on great education.

The two most important drivers of great education are (1) teachers who care; and (2) parents who view education as their child’s top priority. Our efforts should be focused on ensuring that our kids are being taught by great teachers and supporting parents’ efforts to promote the importance of education.

The first step in supporting good teaching is community and local school board engagement in the education process.

We need more committed teachers, not more administrators whose priority is following the growing number of rules and requirements the federal education mandates.

The answer does not lie in complex approaches that transform our schools into bureaucracies whose primary concern is regulatory compliance.

We should not be teaching to questions on a test or mindlessly following trendy education approaches like proficiency-based education. We must grow a generation of Americans who understand the Constitution and our nation’s history, have read the classics, and can do long division. This will secure democracy and raise critical thinkers.

School choice is critical to empowering parents and match education models to students.

Public schools have become complicated bureaucracies driven to cookie-cutter approaches that don’t allow for truly matching student needs. Charter schools, magnet schools and even vouchers provide a proven means of allowing parents and students to find the right match for their students and driving innovation in education.

The federal government should have no driving role in states’ education policy.

With few exceptions, like Pell Grants, federal education programs should be converted to block grants to the States, federal bureaucrats laid off with the savings going to fund local school districts, and the federal Department of Education closed.

Student data collection by the federal government should largely be eliminated.

There should be no retention of information that could, within a generation, comprise a dossier on every American citizen. An independent board should be formed to approve any data collection, subject to congressional oversight.

As a member of Maine’s Board of Education and Vice Chair of the state Charter School Commission, and, of course, an engaged parent, I’ve had firsthand experience with the education issue.

Education is essential to restoring America’s place in the world. I am committed to seeing that every child in Maine is afforded the opportunity to have access to the education they deserve.

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