As a father of three daughters who went to Jefferson County Public Schools, I understand how important receiving a quality education means to our community. We must provide teachers and students with every tool available to help them succeed and invest in educational programs beneficial to our children’s future.
Providing a solid foundation starts with early education which sets the stage for success later in life. This is why I continue to support funding for the Head Start program. Head Start provides services to preschool-aged children and includes child development, educational, health, nutritional, social and other activities, intended to prepare low-income children for entering kindergarten.
Now more than ever access to affordable student loans for higher education is vital for producing and maintaining a competitive workforce. By investing adequately in our educational system we can ensure a skilled workforce is able to tackle the challenges of the 21st century. The following are areas we need to continue to support for our schools and students in Colorado:
Elementary Education and Reauthorization Act
For our schools, this funding is critical to ensure our children receive the highest quality education and to keep dedicated and hard working teachers and staff employed. Our nation's primary source of federal aid to K-12 education is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The ESEA was most recently amended and reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001.
As Congress works on the reauthorization of ESEA, our nation's educational system and schools continue to undergo changes. With the input of a number of state and educational leaders across America, the U.S. Department of Education agreed to give waivers from NCLB to qualified states as we await the reauthorization of ESEA. Colorado, among other states, was chosen for this waiver. This gives our state the flexibility it needs to move education reform forward. Colorado schools can provide the resources our students need to meet ever growing educational standards.
Approximately 8 million U.S. students rely on Pell Grant scholarships each year to help pay for college. Our nation's children deserve affordable access to higher education. As the job market becomes more dynamic, Americans need access to career training and higher educational opportunities at an affordable cost. The cost of post high school programs should not deter a student from following their ambition. This is why I voted to support increased federal student loan amounts and Pell Grants. I also supported the ability to lock in interest rates on federal student loans and to protect our nation's students and their families from predatory lending practices.
As our economy continues to recover and our nation's students prepare to enter the workforce, they should not be overburdened with student loan debt. This is why I supported legislation to not raise student loan interest rates on both undergrad and graduate program loans.
I talk all the time with families and students from across the district with concerns about the rising costs of higher education. I want to put Coloradans and Americans back to work by providing them the tools for success. Higher education is a tool for our children and our country's future, and it is critical to our ability to compete in a global economy.