I remember how excited my kids were for the first day of school every year -- and I want every kid in Missouri to be that happy on their first day of school, too.
I'm the proud product of Missouri public education -- and I'm committed to keeping our public schools strong. But that means prioritizing the needs of our students and investing in elementary, secondary, and higher education.
That's why I've fought to fund the bipartisan Secure Rural Schools program, which provides critical assistance to school districts across Missouri. And it's why I'm holding Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos accountable and fighting back on her attempts to undermine the promise of American public education.
I know we can't stop with high school graduation, though.
The average cost of one year of college is now twice what it cost less than 20 years ago. Well, I believe we can -- and must -- do better.
I've always supported programs to make college more affordable and streamline student aid. This year I wrote to the Department of Education to urge them to keep investigating abuses by for-profit schools, and uphold their commitment to hold colleges accountable for misleading, cheating, or defrauding Missouri students. I've fought to maintain funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, improve debt relief and Pell grants, and strengthen campus sexual assault protections.
Problems in our education system also hurt our seniors and veterans: I've sponsored legislation to prevent garnishment of retirement benefits for decades-old student loans, and fought to protect veterans from predatory, for-profit universities.
This school year, I'm committed to fighting for our kids, whether they're starting kindergarten or freshman year. I won't stop working to make sure they get the support they need to thrive.
Collections of my writing on education and educational issues, Let Teachers Teach and Classroom Confidential, are available locally at Changing Hands Book Shoppe and Always Buying Books in Joplin and Pat's Books in Carthage. They are also available in paperback and e-book formats from Amazon at the links below.