The current tax bill, targeting everything from K-12 teacher allowances to graduate students, is a full-on assault on educational access and equity. I will work collaboratively to bring educators, parents and students back into the foreground of the conversation and the legislative process, to protect the rights of all students, and to ensure funding structures that support equity and access.

As an educator from a family of educators, I will prioritize equitable financial support to local districts, comprehensive early childhood education, internet access for our rural communities, reduced costs of higher education, minimizing or eliminating student debt and providing diverse learning opportunities such as trade certificates and hands-on job experience for students who want to further their education. To address real concerns about access to and cost of higher education, I will work to construct co-curricular legislation allowing high school students to earn college level general education credits and/or work toward associate degrees alongside their diplomas. Regardless of zip code and income level, learners deserve educational opportunities designed for their lifelong success.

The “Every Student Succeeds Act” is excellent foundational federal legislation that we can build upon as we strengthen school districts across America. ESSA’s emphasis on transparency, accountability and the responsibility of each state sets the stage for improved federal K-12 supervision with regard to inequitable expulsion rates, the re-segregation of schools through funding disparities, and disparate graduation rates.