Public education is the backbone of our democracy and the middle class. It is essential to our national security, our economic prosperity, our public health and our general welfare. The diversity and depth of my public education experience in DeKalb County prepared me well for a life in making government work for the people it serves. My mom never finished high school, and my grandfather only had a third-grade education. Yet, they instilled in me an understanding that education is essential to opportunity and personal well being.
Public schools play a central role in our communities. Our children are in school for up to eight hours a day, so our schools must be safe, fostering and well-resourced. We must elevate the prestige of teachers who build the academic community in which kids succeed by involving them directly in policy-making, increasing their compensation and providing 21st century classroom environments. Teachers can no longer be the scapegoats of unscrupulous politicians who seek to distract from their own failings in the area of education.
Many of our young people want to enter America’s highly talented skilled workforce. Yet, we do not adequately fund career and technology education (CTE) that provides a path to those marketable degrees and certificate programs. For those seeking a college degree, we must bring costs down and prevent crippling student loan debt.
Parents simply want their children to succeed. Cynics in Washington D.C. point fingers and complain about so-called “failing schools.” The truth is that teachers and public schools are our best hope for a better tomorrow, and I will be their champion in the U.S. Senate.
— Teresa Tomlinson
AS YOUR NEXT SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF GEORGIA, I WILL WORK TO ENSURE THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL AMERICANS.
- I will only vote to confirm a Secretary of Education who believes in and is committed to our nation’s public school system.
- I will renew the national discussion about the fundamental importance of K-12 education as the foundation of our middle class.
- I will support a budget that increases federal funding for education.
- I will support financial assistance for those who aspire to earn a college degree. And, of equal importance, I will support the funding of career and technical education (“CTE”).
- I will support wrap-around services through the Community Schools approach, which creates partnerships between schools and other community resources to address the social, emotional and physical needs of our children.
- I will work to establish and fully fund universal early education, including pre-K programs.
- I will propose extending our current education system to K-14, with an optional two-year Associates Degree becoming part of the basic public education system.
- Free four-year college policies can have the unintended and regressive effect of taxpayers funding the college education of students from families who do not need financial assistance. And students at the other end of the economic spectrum too often lack the financial resources and skills to succeed in college.
Therefore, I propose:
- Ending for-profit institutions that affiliate with predatory lenders;
- Expanding career and technical education programs at our public institutions;
- Capping interest rates, fees and profit that lenders can make from student loans;
- Recommitting federal funding to post-secondary institutions to reduce the costs passed on to students;
- Increasing Pell Grant funding for students in need;
- Expanding public service opportunities that offset student debt and increase the amount of debt that can be offset;
- Allowing tax credits to offset college loan debt; and
- Providing targeted stimulus money to forgive college loan debt that will enhance economic access to the middle-class.
- I will oppose “voucher programs” that siphon money from our public school system and I will oppose efforts to privatize our schools.
- I will advocate for common sense gun control as a measure to ensure the safety of our children and teachers.
- I will oppose any effort in our federally-funded school systems to silence or marginalize victims of sexual assault or harassment, to discriminate against LGBTQ students or to abandon our underserved students in need of Title I supplements.
- I will advocate for the funding of broadband internet infrastructure in rural communities to provide teachers and students with 21st century educational tools.