I was a teacher for 30 years, and I’m still a teacher at heart. In my classroom, I saw how a good education coupled with opportunity can propel students above their lot in life. That’s the American Dream, and the way we preserve it and expand it for more Arkansans is through a world-class education system.
In the State Capitol, I led the fight to secure $40 million and create Arkansas’s Pre-K program, which became the #1 program nationwide. I helped pass teacher pay increases so we can help attract folks from all backgrounds in our classrooms.
Since then, we’ve seen a concerning drop in government funding for teachers and students from Pre-K all the way to higher education. That isn’t right. Ask any economist—they’d tell you investing in education for our children and young adults is a surefire way to grow our economy long-term. It helps our kids, our families, and our communities. In Congress, I will push for policies to equip states with the resources they need to help their students, families, and teachers.
The COVID-19 pandemic is putting a spotlight on the inequalities in our school system. How can we expect students to learn equally from online classes when many of our students don't have adequate internet access? How can students who need to work to put themselves through school continue supporting themselves? This crisis underscores the need for us to help students have a fair shot at a high-quality education.