Growing up, both my parents were teachers. Back then, their paychecks were more than enough. We need to increase salaries for teachers nationwide and other school personnel so the folks educating our next generation are earning a living wage. We also must commit to protecting and strengthening teacher unions.
Here in the 6th District, there are roughly 40-50% of children living in poverty. For these children in our communities, school lunch may be the only meal they get in a day. We need to provide the resources our kids need to succeed, and that includes investing in our schools to ensure that resources – lunch assistance, textbooks, technology, and more – are readily available to our students.
When allocating resources, we should also be mindful of what student and teacher success really looks like. Preparing the next generation of learners and leaders can’t be done with standardized tests alone. Schools and educational institutions that are underfunded require more of our resources, not fewer. Jon also supports funding for recruiting BIPOC teachers to increase diversity in our education system.
After high school, we need to prepare our young people for their next step. Whether that be a community college, a four-year university, a trade/vocational program, or other training, young people should feel empowered to pursue the future of their choice. For that reason, I am supportive of free college tuition, expanding Pell Grants, as well as student loan debt forgiveness.
Especially in the age of coronavirus, our priority needs to be on teachers and students. Ensuring that they’re able to be in a school environment without compromising their health needs to be at the heart of any education legislation right now.
I know how hard the educators in our communities work. Being in a family of educators, our dinner conversations usually ended up drifting into what’s work and not working when it comes to our schools. When we get together at family reunions, we still end up talking about education and our teachers and other educators being under attack from bad policies to bad budgets. I promise to fight for our schools every day in Congress.
To all the educators in my family like Aunt Sue, Sara, Aunt Deana, Michael, Dan, Mom and Dad, this campaign is personal. Our campaign is for every one of the teachers and school personnel who shaped my education, the educators who show up and go the extra mile advocating for your students in the classroom and at the Capitol.