I’m the daughter of a teacher, a proud wife of an educator and mother of four sons. I understand the importance of a great education for all children, which means fully funding our public schools and broadening the understanding and acceptance of post-secondary options to include career skills, technical education and the apprenticeship programs necessary for the high-skilled jobs of today and tomorrow.
I’ll always prioritize funding for our public schools, students and teachers.
One of my sons has learning challenges, and as his mother, I deeply understand the necessity of fully funding special education. That’s why I’m working on the IDEA Full Funding Act, and pushing every chance I get to move that bill forward. I believe a quality education for every student is something we can all agree on.
We also need to make sure our teachers are supported. Last year, I cosponsored the effort to double the amount educators are able to deduct for out-of-pocket expenses for their students and classrooms.
Make college more affordable.
On average, Minnesota’s college students take on over $30,000 of debt in order to complete their education. Not only is that bad for our economy, it causes our young people to delay major milestones, like buying a home or starting a family. I support a pre-K through 14 public education system that would provide for the first two years of post-secondary education (technical education, earning an associate’s degree or the first two years of a bachelor’s degree). In addition, we need to increase Federal Pell Grants and invest in our two-year and community colleges. That’s also why I helped introduce the Remedial Education Improvement Act, to create a grant program allowing federal student aid money to support up to two years of developmental education, making post-secondary education more affordable and accessible.
Build a 21st century workforce.
Everybody, whether they attend a four-year college or pursue a trade, should be able to find a good-paying career. That’s exactly why I introduced the 21st Century Workforce Partnerships Act to create hands-on training, and work with local employers and schools to make sure these training programs work together to prepare students for the high-skill jobs available today. Our son Josh chose this route and now has an associate’s degree and a technical certificate in Advanced Manufacturing. He’s already received his first promotion to Machinist II.
Early Childhood Education.
We must ensure that early childhood education is a priority, including high-quality child care and pre-k for kids from birth to age 5, to ensure our children start kindergarten ready to succeed. This is essential to our kids’ futures, strengthening our state’s economy and closing the equity gap.
We cannot stop working on these issues until they are passed into law. Then we have to ask ourselves what else we can do to ensure Minnesotans get a high-quality education from their youngest years until they are settled in their career and contributing to our economy.