As a mother and former PTA president, education is one of Senator Murkowski's very top priorities. Whether you are an educator, a parent, a business owner, or a member of the community, you want to make sure that children leave school prepared to contribute to their communities in a positive and meaningful way. In order to reach that goal, we must ensure that high-quality early childhood and K-12 education are available to every child in every corner of our country, no matter how remote or urban the setting. It means that access to high-quality job training and college education is available and affordable. And it means that communities are active partners in helping our children grow up strong. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murkowski has been in an excellent position to put in place policies and fund programs that work for Alaskan students, educators, parents, and our state as a whole.
Education is the engine of Alaska's future. For Alaskans to find and keep good, well-paying jobs, they need to have the knowledge and skills to get the job done. In order to build economic opportunity, Alaska needs people who have the skills to start and sustain new businesses and keep established businesses competitive. Our schools, job training programs, and universities are the sparks that make Alaska's engine run strong. Just as Alaska Native elders have, for thousands of years, made sure that young people learn the skills they need to survive and adapt in a harsh environment, we must all ensure that each and every Alaskan child has the knowledge and skills they need to keep Alaska strong and vital. In Senator Murkowski's view, a good education is the ultimate economic stimulus package.
Senator Murkowski has focused her attention on fighting and fixing one-size-fits-all mandates from Washington, D.C. and that Congress addresses the problems we encounter due to our state's unique characteristics. She has made sure that the Head Start Act is more responsive to our Indian Head Start programs. She has introduced legislation, the School Accountability Improvements Act, to fix the top six problems Alaskans have had in implementing the No Child Left Behind Act. She held a field hearing of the Senate HELP Committee to find solutions to our tragically low graduation rate, and will soon introduce legislation designed to help states like Alaska do more to help at-risk kids stay in school. During the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, Senator Murkowski ensured that Alaskans were heard-from making sure federal financial aid applications remained available for Alaskans without access to the Internet to fighting efforts to close the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, a state agency that has provided exemplary rates, benefits, and local service to Alaskans for years. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she has fought for funding for programs that matter to Alaskans, such as Title I for disadvantaged students, IDEA for students with disabilities, Education Technology, Alaska Native Educational Equity, the Carol M. White Physical Education Program, Arts in Education, Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education, Reach Out and Read, the Rural Education Achievement Program, and Head Start-because they help ensure that our young people, and our not-so-young people, have the skills they need to succeed.