Investing in education is an investment in the future of our country and local communities. Democracy requires a well-educated citizenry, and access to prosperity requires access to high-quality, post-secondary education of all types. Otherwise, the few who already have wealth and power will continue amassing more while the rest of us are pushed further behind.
As the daughter of a rural public school teacher, I strongly support public education, beginning at the pre-K level. In Congress, I will do all that I can to keep our countries’ public schools financially healthy and open, and to support our public schools teachers.
In Congress, I will press to refocus our country so that we see public schools and public school teachers as a public and social good. This means means lobbying against legislation that diminishes or calls into question the stature of schools and our teachers, such as tying test scores to teachers’ compensation. Legislation must acknowledge that public education is about creating a strong nation and stable society through well educated and critically thinking individuals; it is about much more than personal achievement.
We must fully support public schools and teachers because the future of our country is in their hands. Teachers deserve good pay and benefits, and this attracts the best in the industry.
- Public education must begin at the pre-K level. A child entering kindergarten without proper early childhood development is more likely to remain behind throughout school, unable to achieve his or her full potential.
Public School Funding
- Federal, state and local government officials must work together to both relieve the tax burden on low-income school districts and to make sure that adequate funding is available for all of our schools, pre-K through high school. When children in one section of our country are ill prepared for life after school, our entire nation suffers.
- I will lobby for legislation that reexamines how public schools are funded, with an eye towards greater redistribution and less reliance on local tax revenue since that puts low-income areas at a disadvantage.
Common Core & Charter Schools:
- Taxpayer money should only be used for public schools
- Rather than charter schools, we should figure out how to create the benefits of charter schools within our existing schools. Too many charter schools lack a kitchen, which means children who need school meals cannot attend. Too many charter schools requires private transportation, which limits the children who can attend. The NYS BOCES program could be a model for the rest of the country as a way to specialize education within the public school system.
- As a long-time champion of sustainable economic development, I understand the role that private schools play in attracting families to a place. I support private schools as long as they do not use taxpayer funding or institute requirements that infringe upon a student’s civil rights.
Post Secondary Education: Post secondary education is a major economic driver in the North Country because of what the education does for students and because of what it does for our communities. For these reasons, I will be a strong partner with our colleges, universities, and technical schools. Whether technical or liberal arts, private or public, higher education needs to be accessible, and there needs to be choices. I believe that the federal government has a role in making sure that access to higher education is possible by addressing affordability. It can do so by:
- Relieving college students and their parents of the crushing burden of student loan debt by:
- Increasing federal student aid
- Continuing Stafford and Perkins loans
- Protecting students from profiteering by schools and loan companies. Some loans carry unreasonable interest rates, rates higher than for mortgage and automobile loans
- Creating loan forgiveness programs for geographical and professional areas particularly in need of graduates
- Ensuring that the federal government’s support extends to technical training as well as to traditional four-year institutions both public and private.
- Work with colleges to manage the cost of unfunded federal regulations placed upon schools, and revisit the unfunded mandates already in place
Technical Education: Much of the conversation in Washington and around the country surrounds college education at four-year institutions. As a congresswoman, I would work to make sure that vocational education receives the same attention because our country needs more people skilled in technical trades, and we have many students who would excel in those roles if the options were available and encouraged. To do this, I would:
- Increase investment in technical schools
- Encourage high school curriculums that adequately prepare students for these post-secondary opportunities
- Encourage existing businesses to form relationships with technical schools
Title IX Funding: Title IX is responsible for high school girls gaining access to sports teams and for those teams being treated equally. For example, it allowed girls’ teams to receive new uniforms made for girls rather than having to accept the boys’ hand-me-downs.
Title IX was also in part responsible for schools and colleges paying attention to sexual harassment and violence. The Obama Administration provided schools and colleges with guidance on how to comply with Title IX in regards to sexual harassment and sexual violence.
Although some people, including Education Secretary, Betsy Devos, believe that Title IX is no longer necessary and was used by President Obama to overextend his executive reach, given that girls and women are still treated differently due to their gender, as has been made clear in the recent sexual scandals that have come to light, Title IX is still relevant and should be maintained.
Rural Schools: The North Country’s school districts face some particular challenges shared by other rural regions. We have strong teachers dedicated to our students, however rising local taxes, declining property values, and declining populations threaten the strength and existence of our schools. We know that schools are the centerpiece of our communities, and so when a school closes it has a significant, negative impact on an area.
I support districts exploring and adopting the Community Schools initiative as a way to keep the schools at the center of the community, and to make them a center of support for families. To increase student enrollment, I support international high school student programs like that in Newcomb, NY. Long-term success of this program requires changes in federal student visa laws.