Every American child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential no matter who they are or where they are from.

As a mother of three children, I am fully committed to strengthening all of our public schools. I served as the Chair of a Montessori Pre-K school and am a strong proponent of universal, quality Pre-K education for all our children. Research has shown that access to Pre-K programs produces large academic gains, amounting to the equivalent of an extra one-fifth to one-third of a year of learning. Low-income families have seen benefits from Pre-K education, including increased high school graduation and employment and decreased incarceration rates. Expanding these programs to reach all of our children is a powerful tool to improving our country’s education system and fortifying our future economy.

President Trump’s proposed budget would cut the Department of Education budget by a higher percentage than cuts to any other federal department, removing $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives. Rather than supporting public schools, the president and Secretary DeVos are seeking to expand charter and private schools by $400 million, while eliminating over 20 critical education initiatives. DeVos has sought to empower the unscrupulous for-profit college industry while rolling back protections for those it has swindled. We cannot allow the Trump administration’s continued subversion of our school systems, and I will work hard to stop it in Congress.

Supporting our public schools is not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. We need better trained workers to keep our economy growing and to attract good employers to the region.

I support raising teacher pay to make sure we retain and attract the best teachers. We need to work toward options for students to graduate from college debt-free. And for those who decide four-year college is not the best path for them, we need strong two-year colleges and better vocational training that leads directly to job opportunities.