Education is a human right. I was a substitute teacher for two years and a college instructor for two years before that. I’ve seen how hard teachers work and how underappreciated they are. They work for such little pay, yet they care so much for their students. It’s a teacher caring about me (hey, Ms. Rogerson at Byrd Elementary!) in first grade who channeled my love of learning into a love for school.
As a substitute teacher, I also saw what an important role schools play—they act in many ways as a second family for students, providing breakfast, lunch, and food during the summer for many students. And I saw how much your zip code determines what resources you get. If you’re born in a poor part of town, you get crumbling schools and overcrowded classrooms.
We must increase funding to public schools and make them safe, supportive learning environments for all students—not sell off our system to private, profit-driven enterprises.
In Congress, I will fight for:
- Free tuition at public colleges and universities throughout the country, just like the University of California system had until the 1980s.
- A one-time cancellation of all student debt.
- A starting salary of $60,000 for all public school teachers.
- Free, universal preschool for children between ages three and five—similar to what is already provided in Oklahoma.
- Free, universal childcare, so we can create new jobs, have earlier intervention for kids who need it, and increase opportunity for mothers, who disproportionately quit or stall their careers to care for their children. Greater regulation of childcare centers, so all children enjoy the same high levels of enrichment and safety.
- Free school breakfast and lunch for all children in public pre-K, public kindergarten, and public K-12 schools.
- Ending “teaching to the test,” so we treat our teachers with the respect they deserve and allow children to enjoy school again.
- All teachers’ right to collectively bargain and earn a decent wage with acceptable class sizes and resources, so they can do the best job possible teaching our kids.
- Protecting parents’ right to homeschool their kids.