Personally and in public service, education has always been a passion of mine. I learned the importance of an education early in my life. My father was public school teacher for over 25 years and he instilled in me a love of learning. He also taught me the necessity of passing on what we have learned to the next generation.
Just as our auto industry must adapt to a rapidly changing global economy, our children must be prepared to thrive in the new and challenging global economy.
We must give our children the tools necessary to compete in a fierce global marketplace and we must ensure that they have the skills necessary for the American economy to thrive.
As a State Senator, I served as the ranking member of the Senate Education Committee and I continually fought for policies that would expand educational opportunities for all children regardless of where they lived. I was particularly troubled by the fact that many schools in my Senate district lacked Internet access. In order to rectify this problem I formed a grassroots organization called NetDay Michigan and we mobilized hundreds of volunteers to roll up their sleeves, pull wire and install donated computers. We wired twenty-two schools, libraries and recreation centers and in the process opened a world of opportunities for children who would not otherwise have access to the Internet and a computer.
In Congress, I believe we must make a national commitment to preK-12 education. We must fully fund early childhood education programs, equip our classrooms with cutting edge technology, strengthen science and technology curriculums, demand higher standards, reduce class size and make sure that we have the best trained, most qualified teachers in the world. And, we must also never neglect the unique needs of children in our special education programs.
Too often, the makers of education policy in Washington are out of touch with the changing job market, the needs of our children and the increasing demands placed on our teachers. As an experienced educator and policy maker, I look forward to shaking up the status quo in Congress.