We all know that a strong education is essential in order to compete in today's economy. As we continue to progress through the 21st Century, and our economy becomes more global, a solid educational foundation will be even more important.
Building that foundation starts with making a stronger commitment to pre-school education for all children. Head Start has proven its effectiveness for decades, and we must ensure its continued funding and work to expand it so more children can enter kindergarten better prepared and excited to learn.
A solid foundation also comes from having great teachers in the classroom. That's why I will support measures that encourage more college students to enter the teaching field and reward our best teachers for staying in the classroom.
While keeping good teachers in the classroom, we must also ensure that federal education policies help our schools, not punish them. The No Child Left Behind law has forced a one-size fits all approach onto our schools. Worse yet, Congress has failed to provide the funding needed to implement the law, drawing more and more of the limited resources in our schools away from teaching our children. In Congress, I will fight to either fully fund NCLB or repeal it.
We must also help students build upon their educational foundation by continuing their education at a vocational or technical school, community college or four-year university. However, skyrocketing college tuitions and decreasing federal financial aid have more and more middle-class families struggling to send their children to college. A post-secondary education, and the opportunity that it provides, must remain accessible to every American student and family. In Congress, I will fight for increased financial aid funding, especially need-based aid and Pell Grants, so that the door to higher education is always open to any student.