Ensuring that our young people have the access to a comprehensive education has been a top priority of mine. Our students deserve the best we can offer them, and that is what I continue to work in improving our school system. I am a product of Miami-Dade public schools, graduating from West Miami Middle School and Southwest Miami Senior High School. I earned an Associate of the Arts degree from Miami Dade College and Bachelor and Masters Degrees from Florida International University in Education and a Doctorate of Education from the University of Miami.
I am also a former educator and Florida Certified Teacher and I recognize the challenges that our students face. As a life-long student, I understand the importance of an education for professional and personal development. I am infinitely grateful for the support I received while in school and I am sure that I would not be the same person without it.
During my tenure in the State Legislature, I co-authored the Florida Prepaid College Program. This landmark program allows families to lock in the cost of college today, so that students and parents do not have to worry about increased costs of higher education over time. This program continues to be in effect today and has helped over a million young Floridians who would not ordinarily be able to afford a college education.
Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act
I recently voted for the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act. This bill will make college affordability the focus for our federal loans and eliminate wasteful subsidies to financial institutions, saving taxpayers money while getting more kids to college. Of the many issues students and parents have to contend with on a daily basis, one that they should never have to worry about is how to pay for a college education. Students need to be assured that we will support them in their pursuit of an affordable and practical higher education.
TEACH for Our Future Act
As a former educator, I understand the importance of our teachers. They dedicate their lives to help prepare the future leaders of America. That is why I co-sponsored the Teach for Our Future Act. This bill would expand the loan forgiveness available to public elementary and secondary school teachers. We must show that the government is willing to help our teachers with their debts in order to attract others into this valuable profession.
National STEM Education Tax Incentive for Teachers Act
As a nation, we must continue to focus on primary and secondary math and science education in order to continue innovation in these fields. That is why I co-sponsored the STEM Act designed to provide Math and Science teachers with a refundable tax credit of up to 10% of their undergraduate education. With these sorts of incentives, we can continue to provide our teachers with the relief they deserve.
Student Internet Safety Act
The internet is an ever changing network full of fantastic educational tools, but it can also be hazardous to our children. That is why I co-sponsored the Internet Safety Act, to teach children the positive aspects of the internet and warn them of the dangers. We must continue to safeguard our children in the 21st century and this bill is a step in the right direction.
Families Learning and Understanding English Together Act
As English is the prevalent language in the global political and business arenas, it is an asset for all Americans to know the language to enhance their opportunities in the future and enable them to become active citizens. That is why I co-sponsored this bill designed to help families learn English. More opportunities are opened up to those who are proficient in English, and this act can yield greater prospects in their future.
Bullying and Gang Reduction for Improved Education Act
Bullying and gang related violence have no place in our educational system. That is why I co-sponsored the Bullying and Gang Reduction Act. Anti-bullying and anti-gang activities, which are organized by the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities program, will be included in violence prevention initiatives at elementary and secondary schools across America. These initiatives aim to foster healthy, active and drug-free lifestyles that maximize the potential of our most important asset- our children.
Safe Schools Improvement Act
School safety is a concern of everyone and is one of the most important issues in this country. That is why I co-sponsored the Safe Schools Improvement Act. Through grants, we can increase funds that provide anti-drug and anti-harassment education and keep our schools safe. This way we can create a center for learning that is continually moving in a positive direction.