Enhancing the American Education System
Education is the most important rung in the ladder to opportunity...
That’s why I chose to become a special education and kindergarten teacher, so that I could make a difference in students’ lives as soon as possible. But even by kindergarten, I noticed gaps in my students’ knowledge. One of the main reasons I am running for office is so that I can work to ensure that all of Ohio’s children can access quality education, giving them the opportunity to thrive in the American workforce and compete in the global economy. A better education means a brighter future.
The Importance of Public School
I believe in the promise of public education and our shared responsibility to educate the next generation. That’s why I insist on having a Secretary of Education who is not only knowledgeable about public education but believes in it, too. In order to avoid huge funding disparities between students in different communities, I will fix our school funding formula to standardize our methods of funding across the nation. I believe that every student should have and equal opportunity to attend good public schools, no matter where they live.
Early Childhood Education
I also support universal preschool and early childhood education, which is proven to help close achievement gaps between students and help them succeed throughout all stages of life. Children who have higher-quality early education do better in school, are healthier, and enter the workforce with better job prospects. And, our kids are not the only ones who benefit -- society as a whole will reap the rewards of a strong early childhood education system. These same students will grow up to earn higher incomes and ultimately give back to the economy that supported them. In doing this they will contribute both productively and financially to the society that afforded them the opportunity to succeed. In Congress, I will fight for funding opportunities to expand preschool and early childhood education for kids all across America.
In the classroom, I saw how standardized testing limited my students’ time to learn and explore. Intuitively, students know that there is more than one way to solve a math problem or write an essay, and teachers understand how to impart those lessons. I trust that teachers understand the needs of their students more than Washington does -- that’s why I support giving more autonomy to teachers in the classroom. I will work to return decision-making to the local level by supporting legislation that removes for-profit testing from its dominant position in our public schools. I believe that when you give teachers room to be creative, you also set students free. By working to decrease the time spent on testing, I will allow students more space to learn and teachers more time to teach. Education should be about creativity and problem solving -- ultimately, it should foster a love of learning. After all, we are preparing children for tomorrow by teaching them today. If they are encouraged to love learning, students will have the skillset to adapt to an ever-changing world.
Higher Education and Student Loans
In the modern economy it is becoming increasingly important that students obtain college degrees to better compete in the workforce and earn well-paying jobs to support their families. However, the current student loan crisis is crippling college students finacially. In 2016, the average college graduate had more than $30,000 in loans. In Congress, I will work to increase federal student aid and to encourage legislation that will cap loan payments based on income. I will also be a strong advocate for tighter regulations against large student loan providers, who frequently do not inform students of all their options and do not put them on the best repayment plan. I also believe that colleges and universities can play a role in helping to ease this crisis, and will encourage legislation that gives colleges incentives to offer more financial aid.
I believe that every student should have the opportunity to pursue education beyond high school for free. In pursuit of this ambitious goal I will work to make community college accessible to every student in America. Some states, like Tennessee and Rhode Island, have already enacted programs that have significantly increased college attendance. I will support legislation that encourages Ohio to adopt similar programs, starting with a last dollar program, which lessens the burden on taxpayers and states while beginning to make college more affordable for students.
I also understand that many students are better served learning technical skills at high-quality vocational schools and continuing on to fill important roles in our economy. I will support legislation to bolster our nation’s technical and vocational schools as well.
Sexual Assault and Harassment on College Campuses
Part of having an equal opportunity to succeed means that every student who is pursuing a degree should feel safe doing so. That’s why I will support legislation that empowers survivors and holds offenders accountable. I will support bills that improve campus prevention and awareness training, give additional resources for survivors, raise training standards for campus personnel, and standardize disciplinary procedures.