Protect What You Love

As a parent of two young children, our education system is extremely important to me. Education is a right. I do not support Betsy DeVos or voucher programs. I will fight against the Trump agenda to demolish the US Department of Education. By slashing this department, we risk disastrous results for our students, teachers and the economy. If dissolved, nearly 8 million low income students would lose the Pell Grants they depend on to afford college. Over 5 million children with disabilities would lose 12.7 billion dollars that ensure the children get a quality education. Half a million teachers would be let go in grades K-12, public schools. Imagine what this would do to our economy. My own mother would be the first to lose her job as a special education teacher.

I support STEM Education- focusing a curriculum on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, but truly feel students should be supported to study what interests them. If a student wants to go into a trade that requires more hands on learning such as welding or basic craftsmanship they should have access to applied technology centers, like we have in Rock Hill, to expand on those skills. Art, music and sports are also part of a fulfilled life and we should encourage student education in those subjects. I am delighted we have a public school of choice system at elementary level and support its expansion into middle and high schools. We desperately need funding for more convenient transport for the children so that they can take full advantage of these opportunities.

When children are failing classes we don't need to pull the teachers aside and ask them to adjust their curriculum to meet the low performance, we need to figure out what is impairing that child's ability to learn and help advocate for them so that school can be the best possible learning environment. Studies have shown that children who do not eat breakfast, do not have a stable home environment, or have experienced recent loss or tragedy- don't perform as well academically. If these are issues affecting SCD5 students we need to help the children and their families get the support they need.

As part of Tump's proposal to reduce federal education spending by 13.5 percent, or $9 billion, in 2018, his budget seeks to eliminate the program that funds after-school and summer enrichment activities for 1.6 million students across country, many of them at high-poverty schools. In South Carolina, the termination of this federal funding stream would translate to a $16 million loss for after-school and summer programs at 128 elementary and middle schools serving roughly 13,000 students statewide. More than 66 percent of the students in these programs are African-American and almost 88 percent qualify for free and reduced lunch. Our communities need these programs, and I will fight to maintain them.

I support adding practical life skills to our high school curriculum. They need to graduate not only knowing basic geometry but also understanding concepts like budgeting, saving, and investing in their future. They need to know grammar but also how to make a resume and interview confidently for the jobs they will seek.

The price of a college education shouldn't be so outrageously high that only children from wealthy families can afford to go. Children from lower income families should not have to feel that their only options are to enroll in the service or become encumbered by huge debt for the rest of their lives. Good, hardworking students who are qualified should be given financial support.

Education is about possibilities and dreams and too many students leave bored and deflated after taking classes that won't apply to them in outside world. We need to help the children of District 5 fulfill their potential. After all, an educated district equals a strong economy.

We Must protect the Department of Education!