Strengthening Public Schools
As a devoted father with a daughter in the public school system, Joe understands the importance and value of a good education. He graduated from our local schools, including Miami-Dade Community College, and his brother and sister-in-law are both public school teachers.
Every American should have the opportunity to receive a quality public education from pre-K through university at a cost that isn't restrictive. We must also preserve and improve on the quality of education and of our teachers by funding our schools better, including construction for smaller class sizes, and fully funding Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Act.
It is also important to focus on what we are teaching our kids: it is imperative that we prepare our children for their future, not for a specific test. We need accountability and innovation, but penalizing teachers is not the solution. In 2010, Joe stood with teachers and students to oppose Florida Senate Bill 6, the worst anti-teacher piece of legislation in our state's history. He will also work to reform the flawed No Child Left Behind Act so that it is less punitive and more flexible, serving teachers and students fairly.
Support for Teachers
Teachers are some of the hardest workers in our community. The educate our children and work extra hours to sponsor organizations and sports programs before taking their lesson plans home to work on into the evening. Joe believes that we need to value our teachers by paying them well and treating them with dignity and respect. Teachers should not have to buy their own supplies for their classrooms. Recognizing that Joe wants to give Americans a better infrastructure for education, he has been endorsed by Miami teachers (United Teachers of Dade) and the teachers of Monroe County.
Education should not end with the 12th grade. We should encourage our children to attend college and strive for academic success. Statistically, a university graduate with a four-year bachelor's degree will earn nearly twice as much money throughout their lifetime as someone with only a high school diploma.
Joe will fight hard to make college more affordable and accessible by advocating for tax-deductions on college savings accounts. Pell Grants are also a major factor in the success of students in college and assist low-income and middle-class families in affording university education for their children. Joe believes that we must increase, strengthen, and maintain Pell Grants and other need-based assistance for future generations.
Joe has stood for children in our community by supporting the DREAM Act. Young adults who were brought here at a young at no fault of their own shouldn't be punished for decisions they weren't a part of. These are among the most hardworking students who grew up as Americans, and have the potential to contribute positively to our economy and our society. Educated young adults, regardless of their heritage or place of birth, strengthen our country, and deporting them would only result in a voluntary brain drain of our nation.