In the long-term, the strength and endurance of our economy requires a stable pipeline of well-trained and educated employees. In order to compete in the world economy, the United States must provide a world-class education system -- from cradle to college. From early-childhood education to access and affordability of higher education -- I will fight to ensure that Rhode Island students are equipped and prepared to compete in the 21st century economy.
Through the reauthorization process for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the law that funds primary and secondary education, Congress has an opportunity to build upon the significant reforms and initiatives of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. As a recipient of $75 million in funding through the Race to the Top Initiative, Rhode Island has an opportunity to create programs that enhance the training of teachers and administrators and implement reforms that will boost student achievement. In Congress I will work closely with the Rhode Island Department of Education and schools throughout the First District to ensure that the Elementary and Secondary Education Act meets the needs of students, parents, and teachers now and into the future.
In addition, as the cost of higher education continues to rise, I will help lead the charge to protect and expand the funding of Pell Grants -- one of the nation's most significant college financial aid programs. Every Rhode Islander must be guaranteed access to affordable higher education, regardless of their economic status.