As a father of two and a former member of the Education and Workforce Committee, I understand the importance of ensuring that our youngest citizens receive a quality education. I have long been committed to the improvement of the education system in our nation and believe that an educated workforce is a strong workforce, leading to a stronger and more stable economy. Moreover, a proper education is necessary for success in today’s world. One of my greatest pleasures as Representative is hearing from and speaking to southwest Michigan students.
Improving Access to Higher Education
With the rising costs of post-secondary education, today’s working families face a tremendous financial burden when it comes time for their son or daughter to head off to college. To keep higher education affordable for all Americans, I have been a major supporter of federal, need-based financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant and Perkins Loan programs. I helped negotiate the bipartisan 2012 Highway Bill that included a provision that prevented interest rates on new Stafford student loans from doubling to 6.8 percent in July 2012.
Supporting Math and Science Education
Today in the United States, we are witnessing a disturbing trend in K-12 education, as students from other countries are outperforming our own in math and science education. At the same time, we are also facing a critical shortage of qualified teachers in the sciences. To address this national deficiency, I have supported efforts that will incentivize future college graduates to pursue a career as an educator of science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM), as well as retain teachers once they are in the field.
Since first being elected to Congress, I have been an outspoken champion of the Head Start program. In my numerous visits to Head Start centers throughout southwest Michigan, I have been consistently impressed with the teachers, parents, and especially the children themselves. I have stood by Head Start centers to ensure that our most disadvantaged children have the resources available for a first-rate education.