Through improving career and technical education, we can revitalize and regenerate our rural economy by giving our youth and adults access to the tools and knowledge they need to succeed. For every three adults in our district over the age of 25, one has achieved only a high school diploma or less, one has some college but no degree, and one has either an associate’s degree or higher. Many more of our students are dropping out of college than the national average, and our percentage of adults who have achieved a vocational or college degree is far below the national average. The achievement gap and failure of our students to graduate and to thrive begins in elementary school. Our education system is not fully serving the people of the north state. I am an educator and I am passionate that this must change!
All students, regardless of zip code, deserve equitable access to the education necessary to achieve their full potential. Neither the color of your skin nor the amount of money you have should determine your future. Our schools are surrounded by educators dedicated to the profession, communities supporting their public schools, and students gaining the knowledge and skills needed to be college, career, and civic ready. Investments in our schools, in our teachers, and in our communities help ensure all students can accomplish their hopes and dreams.
With our students in mind, I will author, co-sponsor, and support legislation which invests in our communities, our teachers, and our schools. I will fight to improve the quality and accessibility of educational opportunities in the north state, and make partnerships with the private sector to enhance workforce and economic development.
My priorities for education include:
Increase availability of online courses, satellite campus, and partnerships for workforce and economic development
Student debt forgiveness programs for graduates entering the civil service and teaching careers
Advocating for the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006 - the principal source of federal funding to states for the improvement of secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs
Strengthening the pipeline of the teaching workforce, including incentivizing teaching as a career through student loan forgiveness programs, mentoring, and continuing education
Advocating for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, as well as strengthening earn and learn pathways, using federal grants to support college students in achieving employable certificates, that can be used to earn higher wages while working on their university degree
Advocating for the expansion of dual or concurrent enrollment, allowing high school students to take college courses or earn industry certification while still in high school
Continuing support for key provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which includes flexibility for states, accountability of districts and schools, support for English Learners, and promoting a well-rounded education for all students
Increasing access to early childhood education, specifically preschool/pre-kindergarten and expanding Head Start
Incentivizing the development of elementary STEM programs designed to spark students’ interests in careers in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology
Proactive support for mental health education, including programming and resources to combat bullying, and increase suicide prevention, opioid education, and mental health resilience