America needs to be telling its young people we will invest in them. That is why I am working to make sure students have access to more skills training and more opportunity through high-quality K-12 education, access to STEM classes and affordable higher education. I introduced a bill to create a clear pathway for students from their junior year in high school through community college and into a STEM-based apprenticeship. I want to give our students the best preparation to succeed in their futures and keep our country globally innovative and competitive.
In Northwest Washington, students have access to many great colleges, including Western Washington University, Whatcom Community College, Skagit Valley Community College, Everett Community College, Edmonds Community College, Bellingham Technical College, Columbia College, Northwest Indian College and Trinity Lutheran, as well as branches for Central Washington University and Washington State University. I have long fought for access to quality higher education by keeping interest rates affordable and protecting students from aggressive lender tactics.
- Successfully fought to increase funding for and ensure timely payments of Impact Aid, which provides critical funding to school districts where federal activity limits the funding available through property taxes, such as La Conner, Marysville and Oak Harbor. My provisions to improve Impact Aid were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act.
- Helped pass an education reform bill to replace the flawed standards of No Child Left Behind. The Every Student Succeeds Act, which became law in December 2015, gives states more flexibility to craft education solutions tailored to local community needs. The bill also maintains funding for low-income schools and districts, as well as requiring higher standards to improve outcomes for all students, including those with learning challenges.
- Working to improve access to STEM skills training by introducing the Youth Access to American Jobs Act, which would create ten pilot pathways that engage students in STEM-related fields from their junior year in high school through community college and into an apprenticeship.
- Support low-income students by introducing legislation to expand access to summer meal programs.
- Introduced the Bereaved Borrowers’ Bill of Rights Act to protect student loan borrowers from aggressive lender tactics when their cosigner dies or goes into bankruptcy.
- Pushing to make sure schools are a safe place to learn by introducing a bill to reauthorize the Secure Our Schools program, which provides matching grants to local, state and tribal governments to meet schools’ individual security needs.
- Working to expand access to Pell Grants by making them available year-round and ensuring the maximum Pell Grant award keeps pace with inflation.