GREAT FALLS — Governor Greg Gianforte visited Great Falls High School on Tuesday, November 1, 20220 to share his plans for the next legislative session. The topic: Education.
Education is near to the Governor’s heart. His wife and daughter are both educators. During the roundtable at the Great Falls High School library, there were administrators, teachers, and students from CMR, Great Falls High School, and elementary schools.
Three key pillars were discussed:
· Parent Involvement
· Digital and Workforce Education
· Higher Teacher Wages
“With individualized learning. Students’ progress at their own pace, regardless of age or class. Students are measured on where they are on a subject and move through the content areas based on their level of competency.” Said Governor Gianforte.
CMR High School senior Brandon Robbins is an aspiring educator. He participates in a Special Education teaching program. He spends 15 hours a week working outside of the classroom to gain experience in the workforce a key proponent to the Governor’s education rollout. He is a role model who gave his input to Gianforte to set an example for the next generation of workforce students.
“Being able to set a role model for the young of younger students and the up-and-coming students really means a lot because it allows me to show them that you can work hard, and you can get what you want with just hard work and determination.”
Individualized learning is only one part of the three-part policy rollout. Working to create greater parent involvement is important to Montana’s leader.
“We want to recognize that parents are the first and the lifetime teachers of their kids,” said Gianforte.
Higher teacher wages are the third leg of the trio.
Gianforte said, “When I came into office, Montana was 50th out of 50 states in starting teacher pay. We were dead last. That's why we prioritize the TEACH act, which recognizes the local control of local school boards, but provides most of the funding to allow these local school boards to choose to pay their teachers more.”
It comes down to the students for the plan. Success is the number one concern.
Gianforte asked Robbins, “What has your time in the classroom been like?”
His response. “It's taught me a lot. It definitely teaches you that you have to be accountable for your actions as well as others, and you have to make sure that you are setting an example.”
Jamie McGraw is the Principal at CMR High School. She says that a majority of students in the education system in the state go right into the workforce.
"I think it's incredibly important to make sure that we have pathways readily available for students no matter where they're going to go after high school. That's the most important work that we do.” Adding. “…and I think it's powerful for the governor to hear from students who are engaging in a pathway sooner or earlier, starting a career and really be knowledgeable about a career choice that they're making in our community.”
Gianforte took a tour of Great Falls High School visiting a few classrooms to see what his policy would be working to supports. The topics discussed at the roundtable will be brought to the next legislative session, which begins in January 2023.