I went to public schools, and I credit the education I received there with making me the person I am today. And I am a strong believer in the need to invest in our public education system, because I believe that public schools are our greatest opportunity to be an equalizer in our communities, giving everyone, no matter their background, a chance to get ahead in life. But inadequate funding for our education system—at the local, state, and federal level; from pre-k through higher education—has let our students down. To those who say we can’t afford to spend more on education, I say, we can’t afford not to.
Early childhood education is one of the smartest investments we can make—not just for our children, and their future, but also to build a stronger and more equitable economy. Indeed, studies have shown a return of as much as $17 per $1 invested in early education when taking into account the long-term effects to society. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the dire need for so many families when it comes to caring for their children, with respondents in one survey citing child care obligations as their greatest barrier to returning to the workforce.
I believe that the right path forward is making pre-kindergarten education truly universal. We also need to make greater investments in high-quality child care programs and educators while also addressing the twin problems of affordability and accessibility for working families.
We need to work to expand job training programs, trade schools, and union apprenticeships, so kids who want to work hard can learn a trade and make a good living. We need to expand pathways for careers outside of traditional four-year college programs. The nation is facing a shortage of skilled tradespeople as plumbers, electricians and others retire, holding back economic growth and presenting opportunities for young people and those displaced by a changing economy to land good-paying jobs.
Expanding Early Education
- Limit the cost of child care for low- and middle-income families and invest in expanding child care services so that parents are able to both access and afford the care they need
- Make high-quality, full-day Pre-k education universal so that all children reach kindergarten ready to learn
- Attract the best and brightest to work in early education and incentivize improvements in public and private child care and pre-k settings
Making Higher Education Work
- Expand career and technical education (CTE) opportunities by investing more in vocational education, union apprenticeships, and other training programs
- Make two years of community college tuition-free for all students
- Find student debt relief solutions, including by limiting interest rates for borrowers and expanding public service loan forgiveness and income-driven repayment plans
In Congress, education will be one of my top priorities, from high-quality child care and universal Pre-K to skills training and solving the student debt crisis.