Improving our Schools
My wife Mary and I raised three children in Northern California. My kids attended public schools in our area and went to public universities in our state. Nothing is more important to our country’s economy and national security than providing America’s youth with a first-class education. I’m focused on making sure that California children have the educational opportunities they deserve. For our children and grandchildren to be able to compete for tomorrow’s jobs, they need the skills and knowledge that will enable them to thrive.
Times are tough, and school districts are facing unprecedented challenges. I frequently visit local schools to meet with students, teachers, and parents. I hear from many people who are worried about teacher layoffs, budget cuts, and the future of education in our state. Teachers are the foundation of a good education, and I’ve helped pass bills to prevent layoffs and provide teachers and school districts with the resources they need.
For our children and grandchildren to be able to compete for tomorrow’s jobs, they need the skills and knowledge that will enable them to thrive.
We must make a national commitment to education by strengthening our schools; making sure our teachers are qualified, rewarded and supported; reducing class size; modernizing our classrooms; and providing vocational and technical educational opportunities. One of the ways we can start is by reforming federal education policy to provide accountability and flexibility. Our policies should take advantage of America’s true creative spirit to equip our youth with the tools they need to succeed in a competitive international environment.
Keeping College Affordable
But we can’t stop with K-12 education. We must continue to make higher education more affordable. Tuition and fees for college continue to rise, and I know how hard it can be to put children through college. I had to take out a second mortgage to afford tuition bills for my family, and I don’t think that skyrocketing costs should put a college diploma out of reach. That’s why I’ve worked to expand access to college education by passing significant reforms that increase Pell Grants and give students access to more affordable college loans.
We must keep the interest rates low on student loans, allowing our graduates to responsibly pay back their student loans.
It is not just tuition costs that are a concern. For the first time in history, college students are graduating with more student loan debt than credit card debt. We must keep the interest rates low on student loans, allowing our graduates to responsibly pay back their student loans. I voted for the historic decrease in student loan interest rates in 2007 and I will continue to fight to find a long-term fix to keep student loan interest rates low.
I’ll keep working to support the best education reforms that improve public schools, make a college education more affordable, and give our teachers high quality pay.
Our region and the nation need people who trained in colleges and universities, but we also need to have people well-trained in many non-academic fields that provide good, family-wage jobs. We need – and will continue to need – individuals who are capable of keeping our nation running and offering the innovative ideas to improve our lives and economy. There are many industries that lack a threshold of qualified workers, and the bridge this gap, we need technical and trade schools to train people who will become specialists in their respective fields. Our district has a number of institutions, and I will continue to support them through creative initiatives such as the GREEN Act, a bill I introduced to invest in training in the clean energy sector.