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.
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
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.