I am a strong supporter of public education and pledge to fund our K-12 and higher education budgets. I attended the West Valley Schools as did my children. I graduated from Flathead High School and my kids did until my youngest graduated from Glacier High School. We each attended Montana State University as well. Go Cats!
For Montanans to thrive now and into the future we must have a world class education system. At the K-12 level that is a system with high standards, local control and accountability to the tax paying citizens. Local control of our schools by locally elected school boards have been given latitude and flexibility to do the best for their students. Our communities have the ability to create the best school system for the students in their communities, with charter school-like and seat time flexibility, along with strong accountability, available across the state.
I have also long supported our local Flathead Valley Community College as well as the Montana University System. There is a close correlation between the number of college graduates in a state and higher personal income levels. Keeping tuition as low as possible for students and families across Montana while providing a nationally recognized education is one way we can provide opportunities to individuals and work to increase the income of Montanans. A great education is the foundation.
Career and Technical Education
There are many choices and programs, at various levels of diversity and challenge, to address individual development and skill building. Education is not just about college degrees but also about certifications and work skill training. We are lucky to have great technical training opportunities locally through our community college. More needs to be done at the K-12 level as well as after graduation. The trades are another opportunity for individuals and communities to progress together that have my strong support.
Public Education Support
Each level of education provides an opportunity for every individual in our community. I am proud of the work being done at our local schools by hard working teachers and administrators, custodians and bus drivers, and all of those who make opportunity possible.I am not opposed to private education but I will not harm our public schools in order to make those additional choices available. Funding private and religious schools in addition to the public system will raise taxes if the public schools are to be held harmless. For those that choose a pathway outside of the public system, that is their decision. I will not raise taxes in order to add new education systems. I will not support private schools that are not accountable to the taxpayers through oversight and accountability.