Richards said that he began his career as a professor of Journalism at Western State University before being elected to the State House of Representatives in 1975. He added that his colleagues in the house selected him to be Speaker of the House in 1995.
Richards’ Trigg County Campaign Manager Marc Terrell noted that his seven terms of office as Speaker of the House was a standing record in Kentucky.
“I’m very interested in education, with a background as a college teacher and coming from a family of educators. It’s the most important function of state government,” Richards said. He added that he supported full-day kindergarten for all children within the state.
“We need to support greater efforts in early childhood development to identify students with physical, mental or emotional problems early on. If we can catch and remedy the problem then we can get them off to a better start,” Richards said.
Other programs supported by Richards to improve education include grants and scholarships of up to $4,000 in lottery money for impoverished students, increased access and funding for all high school graduated seeking to further their education in college or trade school, and vouchers for students 150 percent below the poverty line for books, fees and tuition.
“One of the most innovative plans I support is an academy for school principals,” said Richards. “It could be one institution or a variety of institutions with maybe one leading institution to train principals.”
Terrell added, “It’s been my experience on the school board that administrators have not been trained at the college level to move into the driver’s seat in schools. We have educators moving into jobs as principals with no training or experience on how to run a school.”
“We need more advanced placement classes to ensure students are truly ready for college,” said Richards. “I also support a lower student/teacher ratio especially at lower grade levels. Research has proven that this helps students in the long term. We need to offer competitive teacher salaries to ensure we have the best teachers we can get.”
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