Dr. Bob will fight for public education, the pay and dignity teachers deserve, universal Pre-K, trade schools, community college, and access to affordable secondary education without insurmountable debt.
Educator & School Staff Support
Educators in rural Northern Michigan and the U.P. also must have the resources they need to provide the same boundless opportunities to our students as anywhere else in the nation.
When faced with uncertain contracts, compensation pitfalls, budget constraints, and the unsung heroism of shaping our futures, education professionals remain true believers. They are our guiding lights — America's optimists. It is the profession that shapes all other professions.
We must recognize all that school faculty and staff do and acknowledge the hard work they have selflessly dedicated to our community. The world our students are entering - and currently living in - is complex. We must recognize all the fantastic work educators are doing to guide our young people throughout their education journey. We can recognize their efforts through fair contracts, collective bargaining empowerment, and improved compensation.
Yet, staff shortages, decreased pay, COVID-19, and distance learning make being an educator more difficult than ever before. Yet, administrators, teachers, and school staff shape our future. They deserve safer classroom environments, better pay, and an advocate in Congress.
Educating during COVID
The 2021-2022 school year started with schools experiencing short-term budget increases thanks to the strong School Aid Budget. In addition, teacher turnover and shortages as a result of the stress of the pandemic expanded an already growing gap in the profession.
Throughout this pandemic, few professions outside of the healthcare field have received as much attention as education. Education professions provide an admirable public service filled with long hours, emotional rollercoasters, and so much joy as they lead, prepare, and educate our youth.
It is not an easy job in normal times, and the pandemic has complicated matters immensely. At the end of the 2019-20 school year, schools rapidly transitioned everything online to ensure education received limited disruption. However, many schools operated under the microscope during the 2020-21 school year as they tried to salvage an entire year's worth of pandemic pedagogy in a hybrid format. Educators are again navigating a complicated pandemic stage as the public debate about masking in schools rages in the current school year.
Educators have been present for our children throughout it - working hard to build meaningful connections with students and their families. They remain a source of stability and assurance for our youngsters and assist our high schoolers in preparing for their post-secondary education adventures.
So many of us have a teacher that has inspired us, led us, and made us think differently about the world. Universally we're grateful for their hard work, dedication, and passion.
So, it's time our policies reflect our appreciation.
Early Childhood Education
It is abundantly evident students will be most successful if they start education early. Early childhood education proves to be the best investment to eliminate the opportunity gap for our incremental tax dollar. Early childhood education is not a privilege for the elite. We must provide equitable opportunities for parents struggling to make ends meet, not simply because it will be good for the economy, but because it is just. It's time policymakers and the public considers all the evidence regarding the cost-benefit analysis of providing high-quality pre-K and other early education programs. Investing in our young children under 200% Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPL) will substantially impact our budgetary spending for the better, and it will provide a net saving on P-12 expenditures.
These aren't unique perspectives. Every additional year we debate, students won't have access to critical programs. If you're tired of waiting, know Dr. Bob is, too.
K-12 Education Curriculum
The debates over whether K-12 community education impedes progress and hampers outcomes for children and families rages on. The conflict has been particularly divisive in communities with parents and educators whose hearts and hands are fundamentally linked in purpose and action. As a result, many successful models in education fail to meet their full potential, hindered and distracted by many false dichotomies presented to the public.
A nuanced and balanced approach to our education systems is required to build consensus around the one thing everyone can agree on — our children deserve the highest quality educational experience we can provide. This shared ideal can serve as a starting point on which we can build. By grounding our work in the students for whom we work, we need to develop a rubric to evaluate and determine what should be funded and expanded versus curricula that should be curtailed or capped.
Dr. Bob is committed to balancing urgency with thoughtful and systematic processes of change to be a catalyst for a conversation about what is in the best interests of our children.
Tradeschools / Community College
Dr. Bob supports expanding and promoting trade schools to help future electricians, carpenters, plumbers build the middle class. In addition, Dr. Lorinser is a proponent of community colleges and relieving some financial burdens on college graduates who have paralyzing debt.
Lorinser believes a Congressman owes it to their constituency to advance policy that would eliminate 'brain-drain' from our communities so Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula can utilize an educated workforce, fulfilling employment demand and family-sustaining jobs.
Accessible, affordable education and training without insurmountable debt for the next generation of engineers, doctors, musicians, teachers, and many other professions is essential to improving our workforce.
Low-Income Education Opportunities
We must provide students with an affordable education that doesn't burden them with unmanageable debt. The exponentially rising costs of education are unsustainable. Investing in our young children under 200% FPL (Federal Poverty Guidelines) will substantially impact our budgetary spending for the better, and will provide a net saving on P-12 expenditures. It's time we stop treating education as a privilege for the elite and invest in giving students a quality education that does not break the bank.
Low-income students should not be deterred from gaining further education based on their parent's income. Providing a quality education for all students is an expensive public investment. However, quality education for all students yields significant benefits for public and private industries alike. Unfortunately, many school systems fall short of the resources and capital required to deliver on the promise of public education. Dr. Bob supports community organizations that offer mentoring, internships, apprenticeships, vocational programs, and career-related education for students in secondary schools and state-supported higher education.
Dr. Bob believes every child has a right to quality public education that puts them on a path to compete worldwide. Investing in our future as a community requires us to ensure that we provide our children with a 21st-century education. This effort includes early education, STEAM programs, college that doesn't leave students in paralyzing debt, and continuing education that retools adults as technology changes.
The impetus behind standardized testing was to assess where students are, relative to where they need to be, and pay particular attention to those most likely to fall through the cracks. However, after years of implementation, our current standardized testing model has many flaws. Dr. Bob supports improvements that incorporate social, emotional learning assessment measures to get a complete sense of true strengths and weaknesses. In addition, he supports limiting punitive high stakes consequences for students, teachers, and schools who are making bold, yet often unrecognized, attempts to get results.
For students, there is a significant correlation between test scores and socioeconomic status, paired with the parent's level of education. We must pay attention to this correlation if we genuinely desire to educate all children in our district. Many students exceed expectations due to strategic effort and teacher excellence. Dr. Bob strongly believes the dynamic between the teacher and the student is the critical X-factor that often changes the odds and alters outcomes.
We must advance and sustain new models of alternative education for non-traditional students, those with individual education plans (IEPs), or those who respond positively to different methods of learning. We must enable public school systems to provide students individual, flexible, and structured educational experiences designed to enhance their academic growth and foster lifelong learning.
Quality Choices (Charter Schools)
Parents want and deserve the ability to make wise, informed decisions. However, supporting alternative educational options (i.e., charter schools) should not equate to handicapping public schools. The intent of these alternative educational options was simply to start something that would ultimately benefit traditional public schools. The aspiration was to do something extraordinary on which our public schools could build.
Charter schools were intended to be hubs of innovation, and Dr. Bob plans to ensure that the current debate is productive for all of our youth. Traditional public schools will remain the primary means by which quality education options for all students are delivered and ensured.
Providing a quality education for all students is an expensive public investment. However, quality education for all students yields significant personal and collective benefits and rewards for public and private industries alike. Unfortunately, many school systems fall short of the resources and capital required to deliver on the promise of public education. However, the hard-working individuals within a school should not have to bear the full responsibility of our entire community. By leveraging public-private partnerships, Dr. Bob will advocate for targeted business investments that directly impact and improve student outcomes.
Accountability for Results
Well-intentioned programs will not suffice in moving the needle for positive impact. We need valid and reliable methods of measuring student growth and progress. Accurate measuring will require the right metrics, tools, and proficiency in data analytics.