Investing in Education
All children deserve access to a high-quality education that will allow them to compete in the 21st century economy — both the practical skills and the critical thinking they need to succeed. My priority is fighting for common-sense measures that support funding for science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education, improving access to the skills training necessary to secure the well-paid jobs here in Michigan, and making higher education affordable for everyone who chooses to pursue it.
From Lansing to Rochester Hills, public schools are the anchor of our communities and as they go, so goes the future of our towns and cities. Thriving public schools require skilled, committed teachers, and I will continue fighting to make sure that they get the respect and support they have earned. I believe educational innovation is important, especially in underserved communities, and I support communities having choices, including magnet schools and public non-profit charter schools.
But I have strong concerns that private, for-profit charter schools may put profit-making at odds with educating Michigan’s children. Regardless of the school, I believe that it is essential for our state to have robust standards across the board. However, any alternative option must apply equal standards and include public accountability for taxpayers’ dollars that gives parents confidence in the quality of the education their children receive. Furthermore, such alternatives cannot come at the expense of ensuring that quality schools exist in each of our district’s neighborhoods.
I believe our education system should work from the bottom up, from early childhood education to skilled trade programs, so that we’re providing the broad set of skills needed for our children to succeed. College shouldn’t be considered a luxury, or a requirement for success, and should be affordable for those who are interested in pursuing it. We need more options — more certification programs and college apprenticeship programs that are paired with the specific job opportunities available right now in our state — to ensure that we are educating and training our young people to contribute to growing Michigan’s economy.
I believe that hard-working college graduates should get a fair shot at the American dream. However, the reality is that many students finish college saddled with crushing debt. I am committed to making higher education more affordable and more accessible to our district’s young people. I will continue to fight to strengthen federal Pell grants, expand federal funds for school-to-work programs so that students know that they have a job waiting for them when they graduate, strengthen career and technical education, and cap the student loan interest rates to reduce the debt on graduating students, to ensure that students are getting a fair shake.