Like health care, education is a right. I believe the federal government's place in the American education system is to ensure that all students have access to a quality education that will prepare them for higher learning and the jobs of the 21st century economy. Education is the key to making sure that America continues to hold its economic advantage in the world and that we remain at the forefront of innovation and cutting-edge discoveries and inventions. We all have a teacher who inspired us in some way, and oftentimes, education -- and that special teacher -- are the path out of poverty for students who are born with the deck stacked against them. We have placed too great an emphasis on standardized testing, and too little emphasis on what we know works--lowering class sizes, reducing poverty, and breaking down other barriers to learning for our young people. In the state legislature, I have fought to continue to increase funding for education and to continually improve Massachusetts' education system to have the best outcomes for students -- I will continue that fight in the US House. I will fight to establish free universal pre-K education, which studies show has a dramatic impact on the development of children, leading to significantly higher achievement scores and success in the workplace during the course of their lives. And I will work to create a better environment in our schools by banning junk food on campuses and launching aggressive anti-bullying campaigns starting in the first grade.
Our college students and college graduates have enough to worry about looking for work in today's difficult job market. One of my top priorities in Congress will be to help break the gridlock and fix the dramatic jump in interest rates for college loans. It is unconscionable that the federal government would earn a profit off of the loans given to this nation's students, and it must stop.