I believe that providing a quality, free public education is the most important priority in Michigan government. I also believe that the goal of education is to foster happy and healthy people who know how to learn and like doing it. I want to improve education from early childhood through higher education by increasing funding, respecting educators, and building in support for children facing obstacles from trauma to disability. Current education policies discriminate heavily against low income students and students of color, dragging them down in a system that is supposed to be "The Great Equalizer." In the state house, I proposed legislation and fought for increased investment in education from early childhood, through k-12 and higher education, and that is something I will continue to fight for in the State Senate.
While I served in Washtenaw County Government, I helped to expand early childhood education. This expansion included the creation of the Eastern Washtenaw Head Start program. While I served in state government, I helped to increase funding for early childhood education. As State Senator, I expect to continue building strong bi-partisan coalitions to continue increasing the number slots. I would also continue building our early childhood system by:
- Universal pre-K---Head Start and GSRP---funding should be augmented to allow every child to attend
- Support for wraparound services for children experiencing trauma
- Increased compensation for educators, giving experienced educators an incentive to stay
- Enacting family friendly employment policies that support maternity and paternity leave
- Better and more equitable funding for K-12 schools---Michigan should be a top-ten state for per-pupil funding
- Require charter schools to follow the same rules as community-governed schools, especially transparency with public funds
- Reverse the trend toward high-stakes testing for the evaluation of schools and educators, which do a better job of predicting the income and race of a student's family than their performance in school.
- Help school districts with more revenue tools
- Provide support for tutoring, mentoring, and other social services for children facing poverty and trauma
- More state support for higher education
- Increase need-based financial aid---Michigan is in the bottom quartile, and we can do better
- Restore state-based funding for the Indian Tuition Waiver program so that colleges are encouraged rather than discouraged to enroll tribal members