A quality education is the best way to level the playing field and ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed in America. We can do this by investing in early childhood education, strengthening our public schools, expanding vocational and trade schools, reining the for-profit education industry, and making higher education more affordable for everyone. But we also also have to embrace new and innovative ideas that will allow our young people -- and current workforce -- to transition into a 21st century economy.
Every child deserves access to a quality education that will help him or her realize the full measure of his or her potential. That starts by making universal pre-k a reality. Investment in early childhood development will be critical if we want every child to have a strong start and be able to learn on a level playing field.
Strong public schools have always been the cornerstone of the American Dream. I was lucky enough to have attended great public schools my entire life—not every child in America is so lucky, but we can change that. We need to start paying our teachers what they’re worth—a great teacher can make a huge difference in a child’s life and, their compensation should reflect that if we want to recruit the best and brightest for our children.
We should support efforts by school districts to incorporate curriculums that will prepare our children for a 21st century economy—like computer science and coding instruction—and work to end high stakes testing that only benefits the for-profit education industry. And we must ensure the facilities our children are learning in are in good shape and equipped to meet the needs of students.
Today, more and more Americans find themselves in need of an advanced degree. We need to come to grips with the rising cost of college and ensure that every student who is willing to study hard has access to an affordable, high-quality education. This era of massive student debt that limits opportunity and quashes way too many dreams must end. I believe we can make tuition at community colleges and public universities free. From there, every student should be able to go as far as their talents and work ethic can take them.
And while higher education is an important path that every American should have available to them, we must do our utmost to expand trade schools that will offer Americans -- from every walk of life and every stage in life --skill sets to prepare them for entry into the modern workforce. In a rapidly changing world, it will be critical that we empower every American to be able to learn new skills for the 21st century economy in a reasonable amount of time, and at low cost.
A good education is an investment in our future. If we’re serious about offering every kid in America a first-rate education, then we need to get serious about investing in education.