Washington students are no longer competing with students from around the neighborhood, but with students from around the world. Congress needs to be telling its young people we will invest in them. That is why I am making sure students have access to more skills training and more opportunity through high-quality K-12 education, access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in early childhood education and affordable higher education.
I have introduced legislation 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 Washington state students the tools they need to succeed in the futures and keep the U.S. 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 increased funding for Impact Aid, which supports school districts where federal activity limits the funding available through property taxes. This includes the La Conner, Marysville and Oak Harbor communities. I successfully secured $40 million to aid these efforts in the Fiscal Year 2019 NDAA.
- 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 that meet the local community needs. The bill also maintains funding for low-income schools and districts, and requires higher standards to improve outcomes for all students, including those with learning challenges.
- Introduced legislation improve access to STEM skills training. The Youth Access to American Jobs Act would create ten pilot pathways to engage students in STEM-related fields from their junior year in high school through community college and into an apprenticeship.
- Introduced legislation to fill a critical gap in workforce training opportunities through the Online Job Training Act to complement existing workforce training options and allow folks who may not otherwise have the opportunity to access training resources, like working parents and those with limited transportation access, to reenter the workforce.
- Launched the School Safety Caucus with Rep. Susan Brooks to focus on best practices for schools safety and investments to help schools meet their unique safety needs.
- Support efforts to keep students safe at school. I introduced legislation to reauthorize the Secure Our Schools program to provide 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.