Education & Workforce Development

Education is the key to freedom. For 40 years, I served as an educator, mentor, and coach. I saw firsthand how a good education can change the course of a student’s life, regardless of their race, religion, or economic circumstances. But, K-12 education in the U.S. is stagnating: as of the most recent data, we’re 37th in the world in math and 13th in reading. And after the COVID lockdowns nationwide, those statistics could become even worse. That’s simply not good enough for the most powerful country in the world.

We need to make more quality education options available for students that fit their unique needs and unlock their God-given potential, rather than force everyone into a one-size-fits-all system. This is why I’ve advocated for school choice during my time in the U.S. Senate to create a free-market approach to education that prevents zip codes from dictating students’ success.

State and local governments are better equipped than the federal government to tailor education programs to meet the needs of the children they serve. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, my goal is to advance legislation that gets the federal government out of the way and puts power in the hands of parents.

On the post-secondary education side, our country needs to do a much better job of preparing students to enter the workforce. That starts by recognizing a traditional four-year college might not be right for everyone. Career and technical education programs like dual enrollment, apprenticeships, and short-term certifications should be recognized as the respectable paths for opportunity that they are, not treated as second-rate. 

I will continue to advocate for workforce development as a means to increasing opportunities and spurring economic growth. I’m committed to working with my colleagues to promote and invest in the educational programs that will open the doors of opportunity and equip students with the skills they need to succeed in 21st-century jobs.

Making a Difference

Improving education is so important to me that I made it the topic of my very first floor speech in the U.S. Senate. In my speech, I highlighted my desire to focus on educational opportunities for all students and ways we can ensure students are set up for success in and out of the classroom. WATCH

School choice ensures all students have access to the same educational opportunities, regardless of their zip code. That is why I have taken action to expand school choice for students

  • Last Congress as a member of the HELP Committee, I joined my colleagues in urging the U.S. Department of Education to reconsider proposed rules to redefine the Charter School Program and strip parents of their ability to choose the best school for their child. “After teachers’ unions spent the pandemic keeping public schools closed while many charter schools stayed open, it is particularly appalling that the Department is working aggressively to limit charter school options for families in need,” we wrote.
  • I have advocated for school choice on the floor of the U.S. Senate and helped introduce a resolution for National School Choice Week.

Mental health is a huge challenge to many of our students, especially in a post-COVID classroom environment. Challenges can also arise for students who choose less traditional educational routes, such as trade school or specialized technician programs. I have pushed to recognize the benefits of nontraditional programs that provide good-paying jobs for those who don’t want to attend a four-year institution. I spoke about providing more mental health literacy programs within the classroom so that we can identify mental health issues earlier, and better support our students who are struggling. I am committed to tackling the mental health issue head on and will continue to advocate for solutions to this crisis. 

Students attend school to be taught “how” to think, not “what” they should think. Taxpayer dollars should not go toward funding divisive curriculum in classrooms that teaches students to hate our country. This is why I have pushed back against the left’s attempts to force biased and progressive agendas on our students.

  • I  joined my colleagues in asking the U.S. Department of Education to withdraw its plans to skew U.S. History and Civics towards a biased and divisive agenda.
    • My colleagues and I wrote to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona: “Our nation’s youth do not need activist indoctrination that fixates solely on past flaws and splits our nation into divided camps. Taxpayer-supported programs should emphasize the shared civic virtues that bring us together, not push radical agendas that tear us apart.”
    • Read the full letter here.
  • spoke on the Senate floor about Left-wing ideologies that have made attending college more expensive and less effective. President Biden’s unconstitutional plan to cancel student loans will do nothing but exacerbate the sky-high tuition costs and teach students they aren’t responsible for their own decisions. WATCH.