As a member of the Education and Labor Committee, I am committed to advancing the best education policy for our nation's schoolchildren. That includes revising the No Child Left Behind Law. We need to ensure that teachers and schools have the support they need to better prepare our students for college and the workplace. We need to work towards closing the achievement gap between minority and white students. We need to increase our resources and focus on science, technology, engineering and math programs to prepare students for the jobs of the future. Finally, we need to expand and support innovation in public schools and strengthen the capacity for improvement in education.
In addition to giving our students and teachers the tools they need to succeed, we need to make sure that students are in the best possible environment while they are at school. So many of our school buildings are in desperate need of repair, and poor air quality inside schools are making exacerbating allergy and asthma problems in children. I support "greening" our nation's schools to make them healthier and more energy efficient, so our children spend their days in the best learning environment possible.
For decades, the United States has had the best higher education system in the world. Now, more than ever, having a college degree is essential to success in our modern economy. One of my top priorities is to increase college access and affordability for New York's students and their families. I supported the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which increases access to financial aid for students around the country and will grant millions of American students access to a college education.
Throughout my career in public service, I have believed that our systems of public higher education are absolutely necessary to the future of economic growth. From community colleges that are the backbone of training for our skilled workforce to our research universities that make the breakthroughs and innovations that will drive our economy in the future, our commitment to higher education must be steadfast.