Public School Funding: As a former high school school teacher myself, and as a parent, I understand how urgent it is that we rebuild and grow school funding—and during this COVID-19 pandemic, the funding issue is increasingly critical. Thanks to Governor Whitmer’s two most recent budgets, our state is finally making some real headway in adapting to the circumstances of the pandemic, and in closing the regional funding gap between the poorest and wealthiest districts.
But these annual budget appropriations aren’t yet permanent. To ensure every kid in Michigan has equal access to a public world-class education, we need to simplify and stabilize the way our public schools are funded. To do that, we need to elect a Democratic majority to our state legislatures in 2022.
Curricula: It’s key that our kids have training in essential life skills, in civics, in the arts, and in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. I studied agricultural science at MSU to become a good farmer, and my public school science classes gave me a solid foundation. Our kids also need to learn the skills of home economics, everyday repairs and maintenance, and fundamental civics, to empower them to become responsible adults who are good neighbors and good citizens.
Our students also need practical skills that will help them get jobs, so I’ll continue and expand the dedication established in this district to Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs, partnering with local institutions of higher education, like Baker College, the Regional Education Service District (RESD), and local unions and businesses. These are key to ensuring students can earn work experience in trades like welding, carpentry, millwork, plumbing and pipefitting, electrical trades, and manufacturing.
Higher Education: With the increased costs of a college education, I support restoring the funding to our public state universities that has been eroded away over the last 20 years. I also support debt-free community college, which can help our young people get a leg up on either technical or academic degrees.
Along with that, we need to continue to provide a multitude of opportunities for the two tracks of students in the 71st District as they leave high school. One track is entering into a 4-year post secondary institution, and the other is entering into a vocational program with a union, or a local two-year college to learn the skills that can land them a great job without the burden of college debt.