One of the great promises of our democracy is the idea that everyone can have access to quality education. Children with special needs or those living in poverty should be able to receive the same level of education as those most fortunate and have the chance to develop to their fullest potential. Pandemic schooling has made us all more grateful for public education, especially given the strength of our K-12 schools, colleges, and universities in Northern Virginia.
I support major federal initiatives and programs for public education, including Title I, which helps school systems with large percentages of low-income students, and IDEA, which supports programs and provides resources for students with special needs. The school lunch and breakfast program provides food for over 30 million students daily, which is a critical piece of our nation’s anti-poverty work. During the pandemic, I have supported funding for schools to respond to COVID-19 and operate safely.
Equity in education is a civil rights issue. I am pushing to strengthen the Office of Civil Rights within the Department of Education, especially as it pertains to sexual assault prevention on college campuses. I support initiatives to support teachers and other public school personnel, who I believe are still largely underappreciated and underpaid.
Education policy doesn’t affect just K-12 schools. I support universal preschool and greater access to higher education at a lower cost. I have fought for student loan refinancing efforts and expanding access to Pell Grants. We need to make education accessible to all, from pre-K to college and beyond.
I also introduced the Keeping All Students Safe Act to ban seclusion and create federal standards limiting restraint of students across the country, a major education reform of an issue that is also deeply important to many parents in Northern Virginia.