Issue Position: Education
Education has always been very important to me. I grew up in a family that emphasized education. My mother was a public school teacher for nearly 20 years, and I attended the same public high school as she and my grandmother did right here in Colorado. I was fortunate to receive a great public school education that allowed me to put myself through college with a Navy ROTC scholarship. Now, I'm married to a public school teacher, and my son, Dylan, and daughter, Madison, both attend the elementary school where she teaches. My greatest hope when it comes to education is that every student at every school has the chance to succeed.
First and foremost, I believe we have to ensure our schools have the tools necessary to educate our children. Our government is facing massive debt, but we can't hope to improve our economy now or in the future without a good education system. This is only possible if we make the necessary investments in our schools. That is why in the 2011 State Legislative session, I worked across party lines to save our schools $170 million in funding cuts. Difficult decisions need to be made, and our public funds need to be used more efficiently and effectively, but slashing funding for our schools is not the answer.
After funding, my next priority is early childhood education. Countless studies have shown that a good educational foundation is imperative for continued success later on. If we take steps now to improve kindergarten and elementary education, we give our kids a head start, saving money down the line trying to catch students up who have fallen behind. This issue has been very important to me. So much so that one of my first acts as a State Senator was to sponsor legislation to ensure statewide kindergarten.
Finally, I want to make higher education more accessible. Every student should have the option of going to college if they choose. Making college more affordable is just one more investment in our economic future -- today's students are tomorrow's workers and small business owners. If tuition continues to rise at the rate it has, fewer and fewer students will be able to attend college, making them statistically less likely to find high paying, skilled jobs. That hurts CD-4, Colorado, and America.
Through a combination of a solid educational foundation and hard work, I was able to put myself through college and eventually law school. Every student in America should be able to do the same.