Providing a quality education to students is critical to ensure children are learning at their grade level or better. I consistently guard against federal one-size-fits-all approaches that may not fit rural and frontier schools like some of ours in Wyoming.

We can achieve a quality education for students with the help of quality teachers who play an integral part in a child’s education. Wyoming’s standards are set by the state. I do not want the federal government to set Wyoming’s or any state’s standards for our teachers and students. We know how to best handle our students. The federal government should not become a national school board.

In 2015, I was proud to support the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and emphasizes state and local decision making in our education system. It prohibits the Secretary of Education from prescribing standards or accountability systems for states (like the Common Core State Standards). The law also ends the emphasis on standardized tests, allowing states to determine how to use federally required tests for accountability purposes, and allowing states to develop and implement teacher evaluation systems. I believe those closest to our students know best how to help them succeed and this law ensures teachers and administrators will have more flexibility to do that.

I also strongly support legislation that offers support for the education of students with disabilities, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA requires schools to provide special education services to meet the needs of all students. It is important that we continue to assess how states utilize the program and continue to improve it to ensure that it is providing the best solutions to help students with disabilities working to overcome learning obstacles.

During the Cold War, our country was in an arms race. The United States also excelled in the space race. Today, our country is in another important race – “an education race” – and the United States must improve faster in order to have a strong economy. American students must have the tools they need to complete postsecondary education and to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to become and remain competitive in a 21st century economy. Strong partnerships and alignment among K-12 schools, postsecondary education institutions, businesses and government will help meet that need. I am working to find ways to encourage students to stay in school and prepare for and enter high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand fields such as math, science, engineering, health, technology and critical foreign languages.

I want to make higher education more accessible and affordable for our nation’s students. A postsecondary certificate or degree is essential for students to develop the knowledge and skills needed to secure high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand jobs. But I also believe fair and thorough investigations of higher education institutions will safeguard against abuse of taxpayers’ dollars. We need to make sure taxpayers are getting the best return on their investment. Wyoming students should have access to a lifetime of education and training opportunities that provide the knowledge and skills they need to be successful and that our employers need to remain competitive.

Related Records