A solid education is paramount to our children’s future and thus the future of our country. Although most funding designated for elementary and secondary education comes from state, local, and private sources, federal support is necessary for a strong education system. During my time as a Member of Congress, I have supported efforts to not only improve the quality of education as a whole, but also to ensure that adequate funding goes to the states so quality education programs may continue. This funding supports a variety of education needs including school safety, mental health services, nutritious lunch programs, suicide prevention, school infrastructure and much more. We must continue to focus on creating a robust learning environment so that students are prepared for the jobs of the 21st century.
We must also ensure that students have access to a wide variety of career pathways, including post-secondary institutions, vocational schools and other programs. It is essential that Congress put forth proposals that incentivize enrollment in all sorts of programs to address STEM skills gaps, labor shortages and other labor needs.
However, access to these programs is not enough—we must also guarantee students of all ages and backgrounds have access to an affordable education. Throughout my time in Congress, I have supported affordable higher education through the Federal Pell Grant Program, low interest student loans, and the establishment of innovative scholarship programs. Additionally, I support improvements to federal programs such as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to assist students who are interested in serving the American public, helping them avoid crippling student loan debt. As your Member of Congress, I also worked hard to pass an scholarship program for the 19 1890s Land-Grant Universities and Institutions, including Fort Valley State University here in Georgia, to incentivize enrollment in studies related to agribusiness, agriculture and food sciences.
The U.S. education system must provide tools for students to lead successful lives as adults. This means our schools must empower students from lower-income backgrounds, provide for students who face homelessness, and prevent discrimination within the halls of their buildings. For Fiscal Year 2020, I supported robust funding for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Title I provide funds to local school agencies that have high percentages of lower income students to accomplish academic success for vulnerable populations. I am also supportive of the first-ever state-wide GEAR UP grant provided to the State of Georgia to help students reach higher education institutions. The GEAR UP grant provides funds to low-income school districts to embolden students into a successful career path starting in the 7th grade following up to the student’s first year in a post-secondary institution.
In 2015, Georgia was found to have over 1 million homeless students who primarily live in rural communities. No student should endure the challenges of homelessness alone. I will continue to support Title IX, Part A: the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Title XI, Part A ensures local school agencies are serving the needs of homeless students and youth and providing them equal access to a quality public education. The Trump Administration sadly has also targeted Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which seeks to prevent gender discrimination in schools. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights under the rule of Secretary Betsy DeVos has undone Obama-era protections for survivors of sexual assault and transgender students. I have opposed and will continue to oppose such efforts from the Trump Administration because every student regardless of race, gender, sexual identity or socio-economic status has the right to a quality and safe education.