We need to ensure that every student in the Commonwealth receives a world-class education. This issue is personal for me, and central to my mission in public service.

While I was deployed to Iraq I found out that my oldest daughter, Joscyln, was diagnosed with autism. That’s when I realized I needed to come home and serve my community locally to be closer to my daughter. Three years ago Josclyn’s class was forced to go an entire year without a full time teacher because the public school she was assigned to couldn't afford one. In a state with one of the best education systems in the country, there was no money for her or six other special needs children. And when I investigated, I found that time and time again resources were being sent to privileged communities while minority communities like mine had their kids put in trailers and their best teachers hired elsewhere.

It's unacceptable. No child -- especially one with special needs -- should ever go a year without a teacher.

We need to pay teachers fairly, and ensure classrooms have the best technology and equipment. We also need to reduce class sizes because every child deserves a chance to learn, not just those in the first row.

In addition to the importance of reducing class size and retaining teachers, we must seriously examine the impact that standardized tests are having on student outcomes. The ability to pass a test does not necessarily translate into usable knowledge.