On the Record: Governor Candidates on K-12 Education

On the Record is a weekly column where you get a chance to get to know our Governor candidates. Three candidates are vying for the Republican nomination. One candidate is in the race for the Democrats. This week’s question is on what K-12 education might look like 10 years from… presuming our Governor might have at least a small role in helping shape that future.

Each Thursday we’ll ask a question of our Governor candidates, the following Thursday we’ll publish their answer and ask a new question. Candidates are free to provide a written answer, a Youtube video, or a Soundcloud audio clip.

This week’s question:

10 years from now, after two terms with you as Governor, what will K-12 education look like in North Dakota?

Next week’s question:

Political conventions are next week, so we’ll be taking a week off to allow candidates to focus on their efforts there. The column will be back the April 8th.

Past questions:

On the Record is a weekly series that allows you to get to know our Governor candidates side-by-side, on a single issue, in their own words. Navigate the tabs and answers by clicking or touching each candidate’s name.

Mr. Rick Becker on K-12 Education over the next 10 years…

In ten years, my grandson will be in high school, and I hope education looks dramatically different than it does now.

  1. After two terms as Governor, I hope that we will have had several years of our own state standards to replace Common Core, as well as assessment testing which is suited to our needs, not the Federal government’s. The assessment tests themselves will take less overall importance. Rather than teaching to a test, teachers can focus on helping the kids understand the material.
  2. Because of implementing reforms that give parents choice and control, we will have more school options. Public schools, as well as all schools will improve in efficiency and quality due to the competition to excel that the choice reforms induce. Many children will be educated in a mixed program, determined by their parents, of two or more of the following: private school, public school, online school and home school. Education style will be tailored to meet the needs of the individual child, to help them excel in every way possible.
  3. Improved use of digital technology will not only make textbooks more interesting and interactive, but will allow access to inumerable subjects and courses, remotely taught by instructors around the world.
  4. The word “boring” will be heard much less frequently when you as a kid how school is.

— Rick Becker

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Rick Becker for Governor

On every issue affecting North Dakota, Rick has a solution that gives people the greatest degree of choice and liberty, keeps money in the taxpayers pockets and is best for North Dakota families.

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Mr. Doug Burgum on K-12 Education over the next 10 years…

Mr. Burgum did not submit an answer to this week’s question.

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Doug Burgum for North Dakota

With your help, we can continue to diversify our state’s economy, create long lasting jobs, and generate opportunities for our citizens to flourish and succeed in North Dakota.

Mr. Marvin Nelson on K-12 Education over the next 10 years…

We often speak of infrastructure in government, and the real critical infrastructure in everything we do is educated people who can solve problems.

We are going to see incremental changes but in that timeframe, I certainly don’t expect to see a completely different system. Classrooms will have students moving more, but in less disruptive ways. Whatever we do will by and large need to take place in the current buildings.

I believe we over test and spend too much time and resources directed at testing. I actually expect the computerization of education to gradually reduce testing. As education is increasingly computerized the need to test in order to know what the student knows is pretty much taken away. You already will have the data, why generate duplicative data by testing?

It should be noted that good teachers already do this, they know what their students know. It is just that that information in not in a form that others will accept.

We are going to see more hybrid classrooms where computers and teachers are both working with students. I don’t expect to see much in the way of virtual classes by then, but expect some efforts there for individuals who cannot physically attend.

Now all those things are things I expect to see, but the thing is, I don’t believe my role as Governor is to force the education system into my vision of education.

Big problems happen in education when government gets ahead or behind too much. Someone might have a great idea, but you can’t just implement it by passing a law. A Governor is really best as a supporter of the web of professionals, parents, and organizations that make up our education system. That web is constantly innovating, finding out what works and what doesn’t work. It works best not with a governor dictating to it, but instead listening and supporting it.

I was happy this week to be able to announce my running mate will be Senator Joan Heckaman. She has spent her life dedicated to educating students and improving the system. Her involvement will assure that education gets the attention it deserves in our administration.

There is one thing that a governor can influence, that is to instill in students the belief, the vision, that they can excel, that getting educated is necessary whatever else they desire. That education is their path to a better life.

Much has been made of the fact that one of our University Presidents recently flew to Asia to recruit graduate students for advanced degrees in studies in which our country is facing critical shortages. The easy thing is just to be critical of him, but instead we need to realize that this is really a symptom, not the problem, that for some reason our children are deciding not to pursue those degrees.

As Governor I plan to give our children dreams to dream, and then an educational system with the flexibility and resources to help them achieve those dreams. Education, changing the world one student at a time.

— Marvin Nelson

Marvin Nelson for North Dakota

Marvin Nelson for North Dakota

Our campaign will support working families, build strong and safe communities, and ensure every North Dakotan’s voice is heard by fighting against discrimination of any form.

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Mr. Wayne Stenehjem on K-12 Education over the next 10 years…

Mr. Stenehjem did not submit an answer to this week’s question.

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Stenehjem for Governor

I’ll use the experience I gained in my years in the legislature to continue to work hard for ND as your governor.

Josh Wolsky

Editor and Publisher of TheMinotVoice, Developer of the #ForMinot Network,  Co-Host of #GoodTalk Minot, Advocate and Friend of the Souris River, Former City Alderman, and clearly -- all things #MakeMinot. Go ahead, don't wait for permission!

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