Like millions of Americans, I'm still paying student loan bills every month, so I understand firsthand the challenges that come with college debt. Easing the financial burden of college is critical if we want higher education to be a force for opportunity and upward mobility. I’ll work hard to lower both student loan interest rates and tuition costs, so we don’t burden the next generation with a mountain of debt and limited choices.

Great teachers are the cornerstone of public education’s past, present, and future. My sister is a public high school history teacher, and her dedication to her students is nothing short of inspiring. One of the first things we can do to improve our public schools is encourage our most promising graduates to pursue teaching, and treat them fairly once they join the profession. We must enable teachers to be treated as the professionals that they are while demanding the highest standards of excellence from them. I support H.R. 118, which would allow a tax credit to full-time primary and secondary school teachers; H.R. 1090, which would provide funds to private organizations for additional training for public elementary educators; and H.R. 768, which would establish better secondary school standards for teachers.  However, I do not think these bills go far enough. In order to ensure that teachers are prepared, paid, and respected accordingly, I believe they should have access to more training and higher pay while also being held in high regard as professionals. 

Clearly articulated national standards and core subject area expectations are crucial to education reform; we cannot remain complacent with ineffective measures of success. However, the reality is that school districts in the United States are incredibly diverse. Local districts should be allowed to embrace their unique situations by being able to determine the path their students take to reach national standards. I support the implementation of more holistic standards for public education because a school is much more than the sum of its test scores. National standards must include graduation rates, community impact, and after-school involvement. We cannot effectively reform public education without measuring meaningful data sets that go beyond students’ scores on important exams. 

Read more on my education plan here.