I believe that no single public policy issue is as important as educating children. Over half of our state general fund budget goes to fund education, from K-12 to our great state universities.
K-12 public education has undergone a turbulent decade. Expensive testing of children, with constantly changing tests, has become a known detriment to the ability of our teachers to actually teach. During the recession, we decreased dollars going to education, and many schools have never recovered from those cuts. We also cut the ability of local school boards to raise education money locally. When we revert to telling local communities that they can have a referendum, we fall back to an era where only wealthy districts can succeed.
We need to promote funding for early childhood education opportunities.
In addition, the political games regarding the State Department of Education and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Indiana voters fired one superintendent, replaced him with Glenda Ritz, who had constant problems with the Republican administration. Some hoped that a Republican Superintendent could fix that problem. Now, Jennifer McCormick has announced that, because of these internal issues, she will not run again.
Finally, school vouchers continue to be a drain on state funds otherwise available for traditional public schools. These vouchers are spending Hoosier tax dollars to support private schools, who are not required to meet the same standards as traditional schools. Indiana operates what may the largest voucher program in the nation.