High-Quality Education for All
WE MUST TRANSFORM OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM TO ENSURE ALL NEW JERSEYANS HAVE THE SKILLS THEY NEED TO THRIVE.
The skills needed to prosper in the 21st century global information economy are dramatically different than those required in previous generations. But our education system remains stuck in the past. As a Member of Congress, I will work to adapt our schools to better serve the needs of New Jersey children, and I will fight to make education at all levels more accessible and affordable for all.
We can no longer think of education as K through 12. Instead, we must ensure that education is pre-K through life.
Early childhood education has been shown to have tremendous benefits. A dollar spent on preschool saves many more dollars over a child’s lifetime. Despite the benefits, less than half of American 3-year-olds are enrolled in a preprimary program. Governor Murphy is leading the way on expanding access to full day pre-K programs in New Jersey, and Congress must partner with and provide funding to states so that all American children can enroll in high-quality programs that will prepare them to excel as they get older.
Maintain Commitment to Public Schools.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has proposed diverting money from public schools to pay for private school vouchers. I fundamentally disagree with this approach. As a Member of Congress, I will fight any efforts to cut funding for public schools and will work to make our public education system the best in the world.
Prepare Students for the High-Tech World.
Technological fluency and entrepreneurial creativity are absolutely essential to success in today’s economy. I support significantly increasing federal investment in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) and ensuring that students in all schools, regardless of their ZIP code or demographic background, are being taught the skills they need to succeed. In addition, to fully immerse students in the types of technology that will define the future, we must invest in school infrastructure so that all schools can be state-of-the-art.
Treat Teachers As the Professionals They Are.
Teacher pay must be raised significantly so that it is commensurate to the vital work they do and sufficient to recruit and retain stellar educators. At the same time, Congress must guarantee that teachers have the same rights as private sector employees to organize and bargain collectively.
Use Common Sense Evaluation.
It is important to measure the progress our students are making and identify grounds for improvement. However, the stories I have heard about many weeks of class time being used to teach to a narrow standardized test indicate that the status quo is not working. Congress and the Department of Education must work to develop flexible approaches that focus on measuring the types of progress that are most important.
Make Higher Education Affordable.
Postsecondary education is becoming increasingly necessary for a middle class life, but decreasingly accessible for those striving to enter the middle class. I support the Aim Higher Act, a comprehensive bill introduced by House Democrats that increases grant aid, improves federal work study, makes borrowing less expensive, and protects and assists those paying off their student loans. The legislation also takes important steps to help students earn degrees that will pay off. The Aim Higher Act will provide an opportunity for students to earn debt-free degrees, and it incentivizes states to eliminate tuition completely at two-year community colleges.
Expand Opportunities for Lifelong Learning.
With constant economic change, many New Jersey workers will benefit from training and learning throughout their careers to gain the skills they need to take advantage of new opportunities. In Congress, I will fight to increase investment registered apprenticeships and will promote partnerships between businesses and educational institutions to ensure that workers can gain the skills they need to advance. I support the Better Education and Skills Training (BEST) for America’s Workforce, a bill introduced last year by Senator Menendez and Congressman Sires, which would allow tax credits for businesses to train workers who have been unemployed for at least 3 months and to partner with institutions of higher education or labor unions to train workers for the jobs of the 21st century.