All three of my kids attended (or still attend) public school in the Hamlin County School District (Go Chargers!) and they’ve been blessed with tremendous teachers, school administrators and coaches.  I believe it is incredibly important to have a quality public education program and I understand the unique challenges facing rural schools.  School districts’ individual needs are best managed at the state and local levels with the cooperation of parents, teachers and local officials.  This applies to everything from academic curriculum to school lunches.

In 2015, Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act.  This legisaltion finally gets us away from having the federal government micromanage local classrooms.  The legislation gives states much greater flexibility tospend money in a way that benefits students most.  It empowers parents, not the federal government, to hold schools accountable.  It modernizes the Impact Aid program, which many South Dakota schools rely on.  And maybe most notably, the legislation ensures the federal government can't pressure states into adopting specific academic standards, like the Common Core.

School Lunches
I have also worked hard to reform the school lunch program.  We all want our kids to be healthier, but a nationwide, one-size-fits-all approach is extremely costly for our schools, jeopardizing the program’s long-term viability and putting expensive food on our kids plates that they aren’t even eating.  I authored legislation, the Permanent Flexiblity for School Meals Act, which would give schools more flexibility when feeding our kids.

Higher Education
I have two daughters in college right now.  To say that we’ve had a few discussions about student loans in the last few years is probably an understatement.  In the House, I’ve worked on a College Dashboard, so more financial information – and the impact student loans will have on future milestones – is available when students are deciding which school to attend.  Students and parents need to have better information when they’re making these kinds of decisions so they can be smarter shoppers.

I have also introduced bipartisan legislation that takes aim at sexual assaults on college and university campuses by protecting and empowering students, strengthening accountability and transparency for institutions and establishing stiff penalties for non-compliance with the legislation’s new standards for training, data and best practices.

Further Reading

Noem Announces 2017 Winners of Congressional Art Competition, May 16, 2017

Noem Offers Permanent Flexibility for School Meal Programs, May 4, 2017

Weekly Column: Classroom to Career, September 16, 2016

Noem Supports Legislation to Give Local Enities Greater Control of Education, December 2, 2015

Bipartisan, Bicameral Impact Aid Bill Introduced to Streamline and Improve the Program, March 4, 2015 

Noem Helps Introduce Campus Accountability and Safety Act to Combat Sexual Assault at Colleges and Universities, July 31, 2014

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