I’ve always said there’s nothing that ails education in Indiana that can’t be fixed by giving parents more choices and teachers more freedom to teach. To continue to give parents more choices, we can start in the area of early childhood development.
Because every child deserves to start school ready to learn, I believe the time has come for a voluntary pre-K program to help Indiana’s low-income kids.
Now, I’ll always believe the best pre-K program is a prosperous family that is able to provide the kind of enrichment in their home that every child needs and deserves. But the reality is that’s not the case for many Indiana children.
It’s important that the program be voluntary. It’s important that the program is available in the form of a voucher. I want parents to be able to choose to send their child to a church-based program, a private program, or a public program that they think would best meet their needs.
Let’s open the doors of opportunity to low-income families for preschool education, for their future and ours.
Another way to give parents more choices is to expand the availability of public charter schools.
Even though they are public schools, charters operate with several disadvantages. We need to level the playing field and allow charter schools to manage their budgets with the same flexibility as traditional public schools.
At the same time, in the interest of greater choices for families, we should make sure that unused and underutilized public school buildings can be put to good use by charters and other schools that need them.
Choice matters, but at the end of the day a good teacher makes all the difference. We can all think of a teacher that changed our lives—someone who saw more in us than we saw in ourselves. For me it was Sister Rachel and Mrs. Fisher.