May 23rd, 2017
Elementary and Secondary Education
Our nation’s hallmark federal education policy, the Every Student Succeeds Act, is intended to create adequate and equitable access to education, and I firmly believe that this is a fundamental right for all students. However, despite the many successes that have resulted from this law, and No Child Left Behind, too often a child’s zip code determines the quality of his or her educational opportunities. This is wrong, and we can do better.
Congress must lead in the effort to address this inconsistency by investing in our schools, holding teachers and administrators accountable while providing them adequate compensation, and diversifying our national standards beyond testing metrics. I support efforts to update education policies so that our nation’s schools can adequately prepare students to be successful in a competitive global economy through increased investments in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs and supporting our vocational and technical schools.
I will fight to protect this important civil rights legislation and ensure that it continues to improve achievement for all students regardless of race, gender, disability or family income.
Higher Education and College Affordability
In recent years, the cost for students to attend college has skyrocketed, shutting off the opportunity for countless young Americans to attain a postsecondary degree. This is simply unacceptable – cost should never be an obstacle that prevents an aspiring student from obtaining a college degree. While I graduated from college nearly 15 years ago, I am among the millions of Americans still working to pay back student loans. I am grateful for the educational opportunities I received, but it is not a check I enjoy writing each month.
We can, and we must do better for the next generation. It is estimated that by 2020, sixty-five percent of job openings in our country will require a postsecondary education or training. If the United States is going to continue to lead in the 21st Century economy, we must ensure that we have a highly educated and highly skilled workforce. Congress can support this effort through continued investments in Pell grants, the TRIO program, and other resources that are proven to lower costs and increase accessibility to a postsecondary degree.
The demand for skilled workers is increasing in a rapidly-changing economy, and yet the number of qualified workers is inadequate to meet current demand. Congress must work to expand more opportunities for high school graduates to attend career and technical education programs to help prepare our students for the jobs of the future, and I’m proud to have co-authored the America’s College Promise Act, which offers two free years of community college for more than 9 million students at 1,300 community colleges across the country. This legislation is a long-term investment that is good for our economy, for our students, and for our future.
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