Education at every level

We need change from child care through university

round-table.jpg

We all know that early investment in children pays off in every conceivable way—healthy, productive adults contributing to to the workforce, stable families and communities, a prosperous society. The chance to receive a first-rate education is a fundamental human right; it is the essence of doing good while doing well. There is no reason this nation cannot provide quality, affordable childcare and early education to every family, regardless of location or income. This is basic math: small amount spent early yields large gains later.

We must help high school graduates pursue higher education if they wish. To do so, it must be affordable, accessible and varied. Let’s strengthen two-year and community colleges, technical and trade schools, co-ops and internships, work-study and affordable loans. How much would it cost to offer two years of free tuition to college students in exchange for a year of public service? This would teach young people the virtues of giving back, community engagement, and help them address the escalating costs of education.  I am interested in exploring all options to make sure everyone can earn a college degree if they choose.

We must pay our teachers better! We are losing skilled teachers to retirement and few are entering the field because of low pay and unfair retirement benefits. Teaching is a calling, a service to society and an extremely challenging job. Our nation needs to acknowledge that and compensate accordingly. I will set a minimum of $40,000 for starting salary for ever public school teacher.

I hope to see us cut back on standardized tests and federal mandates. Educate students to embrace innovation, team work, personal and civic responsibility. Our education system was born in the 1920’s  and has become about numbers and standardized tests. Instead, let’s allow for pedagogy that looks toward the future and values collaboration, innovation, problem-solving, global thinking, compassion, ethical decision-making and room for individual talents. Let’s allow our teachers to be the professional they are.