2012 House of Representatives Candidates on Education

Jamie Wall

Democratic candidate

Jamie Wall believes the federal government has a place in promoting education, and he wants to work to make sure schools are held to high standards and given the resources they need to meet those standards.

He also wants to improve access to the federal Head Start program, which promotes school readiness for children from low-income families, and quality after-school programs that increase achievement.

“I understand the federal government does not have all the answers,” said Wall in an email to the Pulse, “but I want to make sure that parents and local communities are engaged and empowered to make the important decisions to improve and sustain their schools.”

Wall also believes the federal government should be involved in making college more affordable by offering loans to students who want to go on to higher education. He would be against any policy that restricted access to federal Pell grants, which are government-sponsored grants for students with low-incomes, or raised the overall price of taking out student loans.

In addition, said Wall, the government should be working to protect students from the debt they accumulate while attending college.

“Not everyone needs to go to a four-year college, but, increasingly, everyone does need further education,” said Wall. “More and more jobs require technical skills, and we must provide greater technical training, either in high school or after graduation. Higher education – and lifelong access to it – is also extremely important to the success of our region.”

Reid Ribble

Republican incumbent

If Rep. Ribble is re-elected, he’ll continue to work to keep the federal government out of the affairs of school districts, instead allowing states and local governments to seek their own solutions to educational issues.

“There needs to be more responsibility directed back to the states,” said Ribble in an interview with the Pulse. “It seems odd to me that we believe some bureaucrat in Washington D.C. cares more about your children than a superintendent or school board in Door County.”

Ribble also believes that schools need to work at steering children away from simply seeking out four-year colleges, saying that the demand to get into four-year programs is driving the price of higher education up.

Instead of looking for ways the government can artificially deflate those costs, said Ribble, schools and parents should encourage students to look for alternatives.

“We need to look at what future employment looks like,” said Ribble. “We need to look at who in the future is going to build our roads, our infrastructure, who’s going to build our buildings.”

As school budgets tighten, technology education classes are often one of the first items on the chopping block. Ribble said the answer in funding classes to develop a skilled workforce is in partnerships with the private sector.

“Who has the biggest potential gain from having qualified employees out there? The employer does,” said Ribble. “There’s a tendency to always just think in terms of what the government can do in education, but we need to stop thinking in those terms.”