Ensuring Equitable, Affordable, and Quality Education
As an educator in the Waterbury’s Public Schools and the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, I know the power of education and recognize the role that education has in providing access to opportunity for children. Education provides a foundation for economic stability as well as the beginnings of a lifelong capacity for empathy, compassion, and generosity. Our public schools are in need of robust investment to remedy inequities, provide much needed resources, and support teachers and staff.
As a Member of the Education and Labor Committee, I have made it a top priority to address persistent issues with the Connecticut education system for both teachers and students. I have advocated to provide for a stronger, more equitable education by:
- Robust funding for school infrastructure: 54% of American schools are in need of critical repairs. In particular school heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems were most often in need of attention. In 2019, I supported legislation to invest $100 billion and create 1.9 million jobs by addressing critical physical and digital infrastructure needs in schools.
- Full funding for IDEA: The Individual with Disabilities in Education Act pledges to fund 40% of special education costs for school districts. Federal budgets have never fully funded that promise, leaving municipal and state governments to bear the cost. Every student deserves access to an equitable education that sets them up for success in life. I have repeatedly supported full funding for IDEA.
- Expansion of Early Childhood Education: I am an avid supporter of the Child Care for Working Families Act, which would ensure that no family within 150% of their state’s median income pays more than 7% of their income on childcare, and would support universal preschool education for 3 and 4 year olds.
- Supporting Teachers: One of my first pieces of legislation this Congress was a resolution committing to raising teacher salaries. As a Member of the Education and Labor Committee, I have continually highlighted the need to support this effort.
I have actively advocated to make higher education and workforce readiness more accessible, affordable, and equitable. In higher education I have supported:
- Lowering costs for students: The College Affordability Act, one of the most sweeping pieces of higher education reform ever to come through Congress, included 16 bills I led and supported. The package included critical improvement to higher education including the expansion of Pell Grants; expanded funding for Jumpstart, TRIO and GEAR UP programs; student debt relief; increased funding for HBCU’s and Minority Serving Institutions; and many more critical proposals.
- Expansion of Career and Technical Education, Apprenticeship: I have supported expansion of Career and Technical Education programs and Registered Apprenticeships so that students, and adults changing careers, can get recognized credentials to fill high-paying, stable jobs in the industries that will comprise our future economy.