Thank you, North Dakota, for allowing me to be our state’s next Superintendent of Public Schools! I sincerely appreciate each and every vote I received on today’s ballot, as they were also votes of confidence in my ability to ensure North Dakota students graduate with the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed after graduation. I am humbled at the number of people who have given their time, their talents and their support to help make this happen.
In my last two blogs I addressed the first and second of my three proposed initiatives: 1) better serving school districts by providing Foundation Aid payments that are proportionate to the number of students attending at the start of the school year; and 2) providing solutions to reduce the number of students who pay to take college remedial or developmental classes.
In this installment I’ll discuss my final proposed initiative, which is also designed to ensure our students are better prepared for success after high school by promoting accelerated advancement of students.
In my last blog I addressed the first of my three proposed initiatives, should I be elected in November. Implementing the first initiative will better serve school districts by providing Foundation Aid payments that are proportionate to the number of students attending at the start of the school year. The current formula payments don’t catch up with the actual student population until the spring of the school year.
Recently I announced initiatives to address three key areas which I believe will help improve quality and strengthen the success of our students: adjusting delivery of foundation aid payment to meet immediate needs; creating solutions to reduce the number of students who pay to take college remedial or developmental classes; and promoting accelerated advancement of students.
August 1 was an incredible day of listening and learning about the specific needs and issues facing our fast-growing school districts from superintendents, teachers, board members and community people who are dealing with these problems. More than 100 people attended the Governor's Education Summit in Dickinson to brainstorm solutions to these problems and let their elected officials know what could be done to help them.
As we excitedly wait for the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics this afternoon, I think it is an appropriate time to mention that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark education law that brought about HUGE changes in school athletics and participation: Title IX, which prohibited educational discrimination on the basis of sex.
Few will argue that it’s time for change at the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (DPI). The Department needs to become a resource to local teachers and administrators — the first place they turn to for information, mentorship, guidance and support. Unfortunately, a great deal of work is needed to form such a partnership.
I am very grateful to learn that the North Dakota Education Association (NDEA), which represents roughly 8,500 education employees in the state, has given me its endorsement.
NDEA’s endorsement demonstrates its belief that I am an absolute advocate for public education who builds working relationships among all entities. I will forge that same working relationship with the North Dakota legislature to take K-12 education to a new level in this great state!