Prior to being elected to Congress, I had the honor of serving on the Miami-Dade County School Board. This experience of addressing the needs of the fourth largest public school system in the country has provided me unique insights into the challenges faced by schools at the K-12 level, including those of English learners.
Ensuring every student has access to a high-quality education is one of my top priorities and passions. I believe it is a civil rights issue, and that every child in America, regardless of their background or zip code, deserves access to a quality school that provides proper attention and resources to all its students. That is why I support an accountability system that sheds light on student learning, while treating them and their teachers fairly.
I believe the federal government has an important role to play by:
As a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, I had the opportunity to work daily on the vital education and labor programs that benefit both our students and workforce. On the Ways and Means Committee I’ve been a steadfast advocate for stronger Career and Technical Education programs. I was also very proud Congress passed legislation I had written to give English language learners additional time to learn the English language without being punished unfairly. This is important for accountability purposes, as students need time to learn before their scores are counted for proficiency calculations.
I am also working closely on much needed reforms to our country’s higher education system. Higher education will never again be one-size fits all. There is more than one path to a successful and rewarding career, and every young person should be encouraged to pursue the path that is best for his or her individual success. I want to preserve access to a traditional university or college education, while also urging students and families to make informed decisions on what is right for them by reducing the barriers many students face as a result of current policies that protect institutions instead of empowering students. We also need to make higher education more transparent through more frequent and comprehensive financial counseling that ensures students and their families are more aware of the short-term and long-term financial implications of their loans and the earning potential of their degrees or certifications.
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