Issue Position: Education
Senator Dodd believes that there is no more important domestic priority than the education of America's children. Our nation's ability to meet virtually every challenge we will face in the future -- from ensuring our national defense to preserving our free and prosperous way of life -- depends on this generation's ability to provide an excellent education to each American child. Education is therefore the key to a successful future for our children and our country, as well. For that reason, as a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Senator Dodd has dedicated himself to improving educational opportunity and excellence at all levels -- from pre-school to post-graduate instruction.
Senator Dodd has shaped legislation to improve the availability, affordability, and quality of Head Start and child care initiatives. He has worked to raise achievement levels in our nation's elementary and secondary schools -- and to ensure that local communities are not burdened with unfunded federal mandates as they work to reach those levels. He believes that in 21st century America the quality of a child's education should not depend on skin color, ethnicity, region, or income. On the basis of that belief he has authored innovative legislation that would provide each American child with a basic level of excellence in terms of class size, teacher qualifications, and resources such as books and computers.
Senator Dodd understands that our nation has a particular obligation to ensure that disabled children can receive a free and appropriate education so that they, too, can rise as far as their talent and imagination takes them. For that reason, he has worked for years to increase our nation's commitment to improving special education. In addition, he knows that, in Connecticut and across the country, millions of working families are finding it harder than ever to put their children through college. That is why he has authored legislation to expand student loans and grants -- so that every deserving child can gain a college degree. Similarly, he understands that more and more college students are "non-traditional" students: parents, full-time workers, and others. To help them earn a diploma, he has been a strong proponent of campus-based child care, distance learning, and other innovations.
Lastly, Senator Dodd believes that in a global economy, lifelong learning is not a luxury but rather a necessity. For that reason, he has supported tax incentives and other measures to encourage Americans to continue to learn and improve their skills.
* Universal Pre-School: Guarantee that every 4-year-old child in this country will have access to high-quality pre-school.
* High Standards for All: Develop and implement education standards that prepare all students for success in the global economy. States will have the capacity to voluntarily adopt these standards in exchange for increased No Child Left Behind flexibility and increased funding.
* Better Teachers, Better Schools: Create powerful incentives for highly trained teachers to teach at schools in need of improvement. These incentives include increased salaries and free national board certification.
* Virtual Schooling: Expand high-quality internet-based course offerings to enable public schools to supplement their course offerings of advanced or specialized subjects.
* Make College Affordable for Every Family: Increase federal assistance to students and increase competition for lower interest rates on student loans.