As the daughter of a retired Detroit public school teacher, I am a fierce advocate for Michigan’s public education system. I am very troubled by the directives coming out of Betsy DeVos’ Department of Education. From pre-K to higher education, we need a member of Congress who will fight back against the Trump-DeVos education agenda and advocate for Michigan’s educators, students, and families.
There are currently no Michigan Democrats sitting on the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce. When I am elected, I will seek out a spot on that committee to be the voice that Michigan families deserve.
At the K-12 level, the federal government’s role is to ensure that the neediest students succeed and to work as a partner with state and local governments. The federal government has a legal obligation to ensure equal access to education through Title 1. Unfortunately, the level of support provided is frequently far below the level needed to actually ensure equality, and in Congress I will support additional funding to help close the achievement gap.
I have a background in workforce development and have developed STEM education programs for middle school and high school students in digital manufacturing and software engineering. I am a strong proponent of apprenticeship and vocational education. We need to support Michigan schools to advance and increase our technical workforce and get back to the hands-on learning that our schools excelled in for many years.
I support proposals to make community college tuition-free through state based cost-sharing programs. I support using such programmatic dollars to increase the size of Pell Grants and make four-year college degrees significantly less costly. Finally, I stand by union run apprenticeship programs that link community colleges with employers and support employers who are directly looking to offer apprenticeship programs.
I am proud to have led workforce development initiatives with SkillsUSA, National Institute of Metalworking Skills, SME, ASME, the Manufacturing Institute, Code for America, the Department of Defense and the Department of Labor throughout my career. I have managed a multi-million dollar federally funded job training portfolio that received matching corporate investment and buy-in from universities, community colleges, and high schools.
For students who choose to attend 4-year universities, the cost of higher education is out of control. Over 44 million Americans owe a combined $1.4 trillion in student debt. That is more than than two and a half times what they owed just a decade ago. The average student in Michigan graduates with over $30,000 in student loan debt. This burden of debt is unacceptable, and the hefty price tag of higher education makes college seem out of reach for too many Michiganders. We must also address predatory lending and some for-profit colleges who subject student borrowers to extreme costs without a return on a certified degree.
In Congress, I will fight for every Michigan student — whether they are 3 or 73. Education holds the key to opportunity, and we must make sure every individual has the means to pull themselves up by their bootstraps by pursuing an educational track that will allow them to achieve the American Dream.