My belief that we must urgently improve our children’s educational opportunities comes from a very personal place. I know the power education has to lift people out of poverty because it was how I was able to escape poverty.

 

We must establish need-based funding for our schools and our children so that each child, regardless of ZIP code, has the chance to realize their fullest potential.

 

Educational programs must start during early childhood. When education begins earlier, we know that outcomes improve. Even before kindergarten, young children have a tremendous capacity to absorb knowledge. We must develop pre-school programs to nurture their abilities. One of my priorities is to provide affordable childcare and pre-school education to every child. 

I am appalled when I learn about dismal conditions in some Detroit schools: forty or more students packed in a classroom; rain water on gym floors; teachers paying for supplies from their own pockets; no art or music classes; no science or chemistry labs; teachers and students afraid for their safety; and kids wearing winter jackets in the classroom for lack of adequate heating. This is completely unacceptable and has to stop. We must fix our failing school infrastructure, hire the support staff our teachers need, and pay teachers far better to foster opportunities in our communities.

 

I am committed to increasing the staff of guidance counselors, social workers and psychologists in Detroit area schools. These professionals help to identify students’ needs and provide essential services to help them succeed. In 2018, the Detroit Free Press reported, “In Michigan, on average, one counselor is assigned to as many as 732 students. That’s the third-highest counselor-to-student ratio in the country.”

 

And Michigan is one of only 15 states without class size laws. Neither our students nor our teachers will succeed in an overcrowded classroom. We have a lot of work to do, and our children deserve no less from us.