Access to quality education and support for our educators need to be top priorities, period. A good job comes from a good education, good employers are attracted to strong schools and a talented workforce, and every child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential.
New Jersey has the second best public school system in the country. Our towns are home to great universities and community colleges like Drew University, Montclair State University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Sussex County Community College, Passaic County Community College, and Essex County College. We proudly invest in our students and teachers.
But in Washington, Congress is supporting Betsy DeVos by voting to cut funding for teacher training and public schools by $2.4 billion. These cuts threaten the quality of our schools and our communities can’t afford to raise property taxes. As the parent of four public school students, I will work to protect funding for our public schools.
Although my kids are still a few years away from filling out their college applications, like so many families in New Jersey, I’m already worrying about tuition. We need to make college more affordable so that it is within reach of any young person who’s willing to work hard for it. Students should be able to borrow from the federal government at the same rate big banks do, and we should allow students to refinance their debt when interest rates go down. We also need to make it easier for students who want to complete their courses faster, so they can save on tuition and enter the workforce more quickly.
Finally, we need to do much more to support two-year and vocational programs that lead directly to a job upon graduation. This type of training can move people from low-skilled jobs that don’t offer a future to those jobs that move families into the middle class and provide a career.