FOR A LEADER WHO PUTS OUR STUDENTS AND TEACHERS FIRST
It’s time for a leader who believes in the tremendous importance of our nation’s schools and recognizes the responsibility that our schools have to empower young people inside and outside of the classroom.
Accomplishing this requires that we support and enact policies that are informed by a clear and complete understanding of the opportunities and challenges our students and teachers face each day. It also requires that we understand how policy impacts people and not just let our programs operate based on theories alone.
I know that New Mexico’s future is at a tipping point as we work to fix our state’s failing education system. The unequal access to high-quality educational opportunities in this country is one of the great civil rights issues of our time, and the promise of a high-quality education begins in a child’s earliest years. As a member of Congress, I will fight to ensure that we invest in early childhood programs to make certain that every child in America has access to high-quality educational experiences that set them on the path to an education that unleashes their potential and prepares them for the responsibilities of citizenship in our democratic society.
Yet, a focus on early childhood education is only part of a much broader fight to guarantee that our country is doing all that it can for every child, especially those most vulnerable to discrimination and disenfranchisement: low-income students, students of color, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities. I will work tirelessly to find a way to provide full funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act so that every student has the resources they need to succeed at the highest levels, while also supporting policies that address other issues impacting student learning such as childhood hunger, poverty, and access to healthcare.
No other school-based factor has a greater impact on student learning than the quality of one’s teachers. I will respect teachers as the hardworking professionals they are and will work to support systems of measurement and accountability that foster professional growth and development for teachers, while also allowing them to focus on teaching instead of high-stakes standardized tests that are all too often used as a basis for refusing to sufficiently fund or to close schools. I will push back on efforts to use student test scores as the majority component of teacher and principal evaluations, instead of recognizing the multidimensional nature of teaching and school leadership.
Finally, as we embrace the challenge of preparing young people for the ever-evolving economy and workplace of the future, I will support investments in high-quality STEAM classes, arts education, and career and technical student organizations, while also working to expand link-learning models and career pathways to ensure that we create opportunities for all students.