As a taxpayer and a mom of two children in the public schools, I want to be sure that funding K-12 is actually student-driven. Is the overall focus on the kids? Each district has their own issues and concerns, and as patrons in the communities I feel it is important that families are involved as much as possible. We canít expect the schools to do it all.

Itís also important to remember that schools are not a one-size-fits-all learning center. Mandates from "on high" rarely fix anything - particularly if they are from the federal government. Each state, each town, each district should cater to the students individually. With this in mind, the following three core principles will guide me on the State Board of Education:

1. Schools Must Be Student-Focused
In all the debate about formulas and systems, often the most important thing - our students - get lost in the shuffle. Everything government does, from the local school board to the state legislature, should be guided by a simple question: "What is best for the student?" This question drives policy and opens up the door for innovation and individualized learning. It also ensures that our priority is dollars reaching the classrooms and a curriculum that works for every student.

2. Get Families Involved
Families and parents being involved in the education process is absolutely critical. The only way we are going to ever succeed in improving graduation rates and student achievement is by engaging families, whether that is in setting curriculum or in establishing programs to help those students who are underachieving. Families are on the front lines of education, and taxpayers foot the bill - involving them is the only way we will ever be able to maintain a quality education for all students.

3. Local Control
Local control is a word many politicians use when seeking office - but do we actually put into practice? Whether it is the state legislature or the State Board of Education, mandates need to be used sparingly. This means that local taxpayers must have the ability to raise funds for their local school districts (a legislative decision) and local school districts should be able to establish initiatives that best fit students in their areas. I will be a consistent advocate for local control - it will not just be a buzz word for me.

Any questions?
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