Providing an excellent public education for every child is our responsibility as leaders. It is vital to each and every one of our communities. I fought poverty and homelessness as a youth. Getting an education saved my life, it enabled me to rise above my challenges, and even now, it is the reason I am able to support my children. Investing in education is investing in our communities.
Strengthening our Public Schools
A strong public education system is how our children thrive in a rapidly evolving world. As Mayor I’ve worked closely with our schools, I know how to have those conversations and how to bring a wide range of opinions to the same table. One thing I hear over and over again – a strong public education system is built with strong teachers supported by their communities. Our teachers are underpaid while being put in charge of some of the most important work our country does. Let’s invest in America’s teachers, let’s listen to them and work with them to find the best way to educate our children.
Investing in Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education has been proven again and again to be vital for success later in life. In 1971 Congress Passed the Comprehensive Child Development Bill with bipartisan support, it was vetoed, but a lot of those policies hold up even now. The idea was to invest in childcare using federal funds while leaving it up to the states to distribute the money locally. Early education is critical for success in the future, it’s also critical for our communities today. When we provide early education we enable parents to work without worry. When we provide early education we show our babies that their community cares about them. When I get to Congress I’m going to bring those ideas back to the forefront. Investing in our youngest means investing in our communities.
Building up Trade and Technical Programs
Like most states, Kansas is suffering from a shortage of skilled labor. We must do a better job providing opportunities and incentives for our high school graduates to enter into skilled trade, apprenticeship, and technical training programs. As Mayor of Topeka, I expanded access to technical education programs in a historically underserved area of the community in partnership with our local university. We are already seeing those changes come to life in our city. Investing in these programs will not only benefit the economy by filling the labor gap, but also provide opportunities for workers to learn a specialized trade, earn stronger wages, and own small businesses in their communities.