If we have the courage to bring bold honesty to the education conversation, we will admit that test scores in our public schools are depressed in large part by chronic and disruptive behaviors in the classroom. Too many teachers in our public schools have told me they spend more time disciplining students in the classroom than they do actually teaching, wasting precious instructional time. Time spent dealing with disrespectful students who assault and talk back to teachers, fight with each other, and act up during class, is lost time, making it impossible for other students in the room to learn.
Children who chronically act up in the classroom hurt the comprehension and test scores of EVERYONE in the class. The bad news is, students who really want to learn at our public schools are hijacked by the daily drama, and their future prospects suffer. The good news is, we can increase learning in the classroom by identifying students who need social and mental health supports due to trauma at home. To effectively address the role home trauma plays in the classroom, I support:
· The RISE (Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion) from Trauma Act of 2019, to build a trauma-informed workforce in schools, to provide support to young children and families who have been exposed to trauma.
· The Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2019, which seeks to increase youth access to evidence-based, comprehensive mental health programs in local schools and communities.
· The Success in the Middle Act which would provide middle school students with academic and social and emotional supports, improving the transitions for students between elementary, middle, and secondary school, and providing professional development to staff to implement evidence-based models.
Because today’s economy is more tech-driven, and is more global than it used to be, higher education is required for most American workers to get a good job that will enable them to support a family.
Free state college tuition- I support free tuition for all state colleges and universities for any student.
Free tuition to vocational schools- We need to teach young adults, and adults returning to the workforce, a skill that gives back to the community while providing a good wage. I support free tuition for vocational education of up to four years. Vocational education trains people to become General automotive mechanics, Diesel mechanics, Welders, Electricians,Plumbers, Web designers, carpenters, pipefitters, machinists, drafters, civil engineering techs, paralegals and court reporters.
Free tuition for healthcare training- According to the U.S Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook, the demand for healthcare workers is predicted to grow at an above-average pace of more than 25 percent through 2026. Vocational education would help fill that demand, and enable graduates to become skilled as: nursing aides; certified nursing assistants; licensed practical nurses, medical technicians, and other positions in the medical and veterinarian fields.
Student loan forgiveness for public servants. I support $10,000 of student debt relief for every year of national or community service, up to five years, for people who work as teachers, in schools, for government, and other non-profit settings.
Interest forgiveness for student loans- Most of the debt burden caused by student loans arises from the interest. I support eradicating interest payments for all existing student loans.
Increased Teacher Pay- I will work with state legislators to significantly increase teacher pay to no less than $50,000 which will be tied to the NWI cost of living, years of service, and other qualifications.
It says a lot about our country that we pay our professional athletes more to entertain us than we pay our professional educators to teach us. Shamefully, teachers in our country earn about 20% less than similarly skilled and similarly educated professionals. (Economic Policy Institute.) That’s shortsightedness, and poor public policy on display.
I support fair school funding and increasing teachers’ pay. However, while I agree teachers’ salaries must be commensurate with similar professionals, I do not agree that teachers’ pay is the root cause of our poor standardized test scores.
I also applaud and support the Indiana Department of Education’s Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Health Plan for children, found at IC 20-19-5, designed to coordinate social, emotional, and behavioral health needs of our youth including comprehensive mental health services, early intervention, and treatment from birth through twenty-two years of age.
It is absolutely essential as a state, region and nation, that we:
· make clinical psychologists available in every school district to support students and parents in need;
· include mental health screening as a part of routine examinations in schools and by health care providers;
· assist students and their families in obtaining necessary social, emotional, and mental health services and coordinate interagency referral networks from birth through twenty-two (22) years of age;
· develop guidelines for incorporating social, emotional, and behavioral development into school learning standards and education programs, with outcome indicators, benchmarks to measure progress, and quality data tracking and reporting systems;
· implement a public awareness campaign to reduce the stigma of mental illness; and
· Unlink teacher and school evaluations from standardized test performance scores (such as ILearn).
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Indiana's Democratic Primary is June 2nd, 2020
Vote for Sabrina Haake for United States Congress
Indiana's First Congressional District
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