Education & Workforce Development

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Creating a Brighter Future

Education is the only universal equalizer of opportunity in society today. Unfortunately, the U.S. education system, in its current iteration, is inequitable and creates severe disparity in opportunity by zip code. To ensure the opportunity for every single child succeed and guarantee the future strength of our nation, we must expand access to reputable preschool, link public school funding to need rather than community wealth, and offer a comprehensive curricula that focuses on the context of the realities in the 21st-century economy.

Affordable Preschool for All

Investment in early childhood education is critical to the success of our children’s and nation’s future. We know that children who attend preschool are less likely to dropout of high school, less likely to spend time on government assistance, and exponentially less likely to commit a felony, and yet our nation does not properly ensure that all children have this opportunity. These impacts are even more significant among at-risk youth, who are 40% more likely to become a teen parent and 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime if they do not attend preschool.

Restructuring Public School Funding to Expand Opportunity to Underserved Communities

Although public school is currently funded by local communities, state governments, and the federal government, this funding is not equitable and is not structured to provide a quality K–12 education for all. I believe that students, regardless of their family’s income or zip code, deserve an education that serves the needs of children in the context of today’s society and that will prepare them for 21st-century careers. Rather than subsidizing opportunities for a limited number of students to attend private schools, equity in education requires supporting public schools and expanding opportunities for all children.

Increasing Student Engagement

Students who are engaged in school are more likely to succeed, but not all schools have the funding to offer a rich curriculum designed to capture the interest and develop the passions of students. If we expect our students to work hard and invest in their own futures, we must ensure that their education is relevant to who they are and what they want to do.

Preparing Students for 21st Century Careers

Beyond offering a diverse curriculum for students, we can increase student engagement by offering opportunities that are clearly relevant to their futures. Today’s economy has shifted significantly from a focus on agricultural and manual labor to a focus on technical skills. Curriculum that focuses education on the needs today’s economy are where federal investment should be directed. Specifically, federal investment needs to be leveraged to allow local school systems to offer curriculum in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and/or career and technical education (CTE) programs that educate and train our students for the jobs of the future, as well as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs that prepare them for the rigor of college and professional career. By investing in these programs; developing critical thinking skills; and building bridges between schools, colleges, and local businesses, we will prepare our nation’s students for the 21st century.

Increased Investment & Opportunity in STEM

The number of STEM occupations in the United States has grown substantially over the past decade, with those working in STEM fields earning 29% more than their non-STEM counterparts. Our new economy will require workers skilled in science and math to maintain and grow our nation’s prosperity, and I believe American students should be adequately prepared to fill these roles.

Career & Technical Education

Career and technical education functions with and alongside STEM education to prepare students for their futures. In recent history, our schools have been intently focused on sending all students to four-year universities, but we seem to have forgotten that college graduates and high school dropouts and everyone in-between, unless you have inherited a giant fortune, virtually all Americans will someday need a job.

Federal Financial Aid

A system in which a college degree is a prerequisite to enter today’s economy – and thousands of dollars in student debt is a prerequisite to obtaining the degree – is immoral. Americans should have universal access to a post-high school education without it leading to five-figure debt accounts, and graduates who already have need viable options for loan forgiveness or discharge. At the same time, financial aid must support only institutions offering quality educations at honest rates to protect our students and ensure responsible government spending.

Affordable College for All

According to Pew Research, the primary reason half of all students either don’t attend college or dropout of college is because they cannot afford it. This current state of affairs is entirely unacceptable in a nation with our resources. A family’s capacity to pay should never be a barrier to obtaining a college degree.

Student Loan Forgiveness

Unfortunately, college tuition has skyrocketed in this country over the last decade. While Congress refuses to adequately address the issue, students continue to graduate with $37,000 in debt, on average. While I intended to make college more affordable for future college-goers, we cannot leave recent graduates saddled with this financial weight.

Bankruptcy Reform

In some cases, Americans fall on hard times and are unable to repay their existing debts. Some choose to file for bankruptcy and attempt to have many of their debts discharged. Under current United States law, student loans are treated differently than medical or credit card debt and cannot be discharged, except in rare circumstances.