Driving through towns across D23 such as Falconer, Alfred, Ithaca, and so many more, it’s clear that our schools, from primary to university are more than just points of classroom education. They are the hubs of social activity and connection in many communities, sources of pride, anchors as well as innovators. They are the historical foundations and futures. Beyond beautiful and inspiring historic architecture, they’re cherished entities representing an inspired path and channel forward for our kids and communities.
I attended primary and secondary public schools which offered a solid mix of vocational and college track programs. Classmates went on to; found YouTube, become large corporate executives, heads of large city water districts, create construction and plumbing companies, and many returned to the district as teachers.
Out of our rural public school came the education and character which has literally built the fabric of our communities and daily lives. I am a supporter of public schools and I feel strongly that our children’s education should not be outsourced to for-profit corporations.
We have passionate educators and access to some of the most advanced materials and technology in the world. We need to offer educators the autonomy and flexibility to figure out what works in their classrooms, and to develop teacher not legislator-driven best practice pathways. We need to insure that they are again providing even hands to both college and vocational tracks, connected to local businesses and technical programs. Our schools educate and inspire those who will be tasked with rebuilding our infrastructure, powering us with renewable technologies not yet invented, and resetting our lands amidst a changing climate in order to feed a country. I will work to insure that our public schools receive the support they require to move us forward and remain hubs for learning and communities and remain strong and viable entities.
A. Primary and Secondary Education
1. Insure that educators are provided compensation allowing them to live comfortably in the areas in which they teach and competitive with private sector specialty areas.
2. Actively work to replace No Child Left Behind and Race-To-The-Top with a teacher-driven curricular and assessment model.
a. Encourage curriculums expanding critical thinking and collaborative project-based learning.
3. Advocate for increased funding to support vocational / technical training programs and networking with local related businesses.
a. Increase support of and focus on the importance of secondary education Guidance Counselors.
4. Advocate for increased funding to STEM integration programming and tracks within public education including physical and staff resources.
a. Provide educator salaries which are cost-competitive with private sector industry or incentives such as student loan pay-offs with term commitments.
5. Advocate for provision of need-based funding for nutritionally higher-quality breakfast/lunch assistance.
6. Advocate for provision of need-based after school programming.
7. Advocate for imposing no unfunded federal mandates on schools and providing funding for those currently in place.
B. Post-Secondary Education
1. Advocate for funding to States to provide 100% funding of 2-Year Community College tracks for students whose families make less than $125,000/year.
2. Advocate for revision and expanded funding of Federal Pell and State Grants (using TAP as a potential model) to cover four-year tracks with the following parameters:
a. Creation of grant levels equating to 80% of State-School tuition, fees, room and board.
i. 20% gap funding can be offset by student’s equivalent work with an on-campus occupation or community-based Non-Profit entity
b. Provision of (max) State-School grant amount which can be used for Private / For-Profit Institutions which are accredited by the US Department of Education.
i. Amount equivalent to the 20% gap funding can be offset by a student’s equivalent work for a community-based Non-Profit entity.
c. All grants will start as low-interest publicly-financed loans which are cancelled / converted to grants pending the successful completion of an undergraduate degree, and if completing within a four-year period.
d. Educational institutions must commit significant resources to incentivizing student’s degree completion and job- placement
3. Federal refinancing of all student loans with interest rates above 5% and with the opportunities of loan holders to convert private to direct loans.
4. Advocate for increased federal support of Research and Development funding in Science and Technology.
5. Expand networks and partnerships between manufacturers and both community colleges and trade programs.