Education: In Depth
Education is one of the most critical long-term economic challenges we face, and we must take bold and immediate action to reverse the decline in our country’s education system. If we make the right investments and reforms now, we can ensure that all of our children have access to quality early education, that high school students go on to critical additional education and training and that our graduates are prepared for 21st century jobs.
Our commitment to education should begin on day one. Early childhood education is one of the most intelligent investments a nation can make in its future.
I have introduced the Total Learning Act and Supporting Early Learning Act to expand access to and improve the quality of early education programs. These two bills build on early education successes we’ve seen in Southwest Connecticut and would complement the important work the President did to advance early education and ensure that all of our children have the leg-up they need to succeed in school.
Higher education is becoming too expensive, too quickly. The jobs of tomorrow, especially the good jobs, will require training beyond high school. High quality education is essential to a strong middle class, which in turn is the engine of our economic growth. If we want America to remain competitive, we must make post-secondary training - including community colleges and vocational schools - more affordable.
I have introduced the College Affordability and Innovation Act, which would award grants to institutions of higher education that have high-quality innovative programs designed to graduate students with certificates or degrees at a significantly lower cost and in less time than a traditional program. This bill could save students time and lessen cost and student debt by incentivizing institutions to think creatively about evidence-based methods of education.
We must continue working to find ways to make college and training programs more affordable. I will continue working with members of both parties to increase access to a quality higher education.
Every Student Succeeds Act
I was pleased that Congress could come together to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to replace the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law and create a new framework for the nation’s elementary and secondary education policy. NCLB may have been enacted with good intentions, but it failed to live up to its name. The program was underfunded and largely broken, particularly in the areas of health and physical education.
ESSA is not perfect, but it takes positive steps to support innovation, equity in education and improving performance and outcomes. I will continue to support changes that support a quality education for all students. If changes to ESSA need to be made to improve the legislation, we have a responsibility to act quickly and not wait years to fix any problems. We must not fail our students and put our future, our economic stability and our global competitiveness at risk.