On the Issues

Better Education, Greater Opportunities

We must create an education system that allows every child the opportunity to meet their fullest potential. Unfortunately, our current system falls short of this goal for far too many students, especially in our own backyard. Recent research of the Minneapolis metropolitan area has consistently shown massive racial and socio-economic gaps in educational outcomes for our children: only one out of every three fourth-grade children of color are achieving reading or math standards, compared to closer to two out of every three white students. The statistics are even worse for children living in poverty. And Minnesota ranks 3rd to last in the nation for on-time high school graduation rates for young people of color. Not only do we have an obvious moral obligation to address this issue, but if racial gaps in educational attainment had been closed from 2005 to 2019, Minnesota’s GDP would have increased by $1.1 billion dollars annually.

Every child deserves a high-quality education that is aligned with community-adopted standards, prepares them for college or careers, strengthens our national workforce, gives them the tools they need to help solve society’s most vexing challenges, and to become socially responsible citizens. The primary measure of the effectiveness of our investment must be the lifetime outcomes of our students. Schools are the first, and too often the last, opportunity to close our troubling prosperity gaps. It is important that they effectively serve to undo our deliberately unjust past.

Any successful education policy should focus on four critical areas to make sure we are addressing these issues effectively and setting our children up for success. They are: early learning, kindergarten through twelfth grade, higher education, and the needs of students’ families.

I stand for progress in the following areas:

  • Investing in high-quality early learning, especially for our learners from low-income families. Money invested this way yields a return on investment of at least seven to one.
  • Building an equitable foundation under our children’s learning needs, such as adequate nutrition and effectively addressing special needs by fully funding the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and quality, affordable childcare.
  • Defending the right for families to choose the best public school that meets their children’s needs.
  • Creating a high-quality public education system that is transparent for families and held accountable to student learning and growth.
  • Increasing high school graduation rates by requiring schools to catch students early and give those who are not on track to graduate the support they need to graduate on time
  • Increasing access to affordable workforce training for Americans whose path to full employment does not require a four-year degree.
  • Making two-year colleges and technical schools tuition-free.
  • Properly funding federal requirements, like those for special education, that guarantee schools are serving children well.
  • Expanding programs to forgive student loan debt through programs like the 10-year public service loan forgiveness programs.
  • Increasing teacher effectiveness and diversity by creating targeted educator loan forgiveness programs and investing in pathways to the classroom that help recruit and retain effective teachers of color.
PO Box 50024 Minneapolis, MN 55405

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