Supporting Our Schools

Our schools are severely underfunded. Teachers on the front lines are overstretched. My mother, who has dedicated 40 years of her teaching career helping special education students achieve, has to scrounge through donated or recycled materials at a warehouse in Long Island City to have what she needs , supplementing what she already spends out of pocket for necessary supplies. Despite the fact that our school tax bills remain at record high levels, we see fewer resources dedicated to our schools. Our children need a more robust commitment from the federal government so that they can compete for the jobs of tomorrow in science, technology, engineering, and math.

As an advocate for children and families, I will work to eliminate wasteful spending from the federal budget so that we can invest in our public schools and universities. I will propose that these savings be invested in a new national pre-university program for students in their final year of high school, similar to the CÉGEP program in Québec.2 This program will empower them to explore different career opportunities before they decide on a post-secondary school path, such as trade and vocational training, heading straight to employment, or enrolling in a university degree program.

Although New York State has made recent strides toward making our public universities more affordable, cost remains a significant barrier for students seeking higher education. I will sponsor legislation to make public colleges and universities tuition-free for those who have shown merit but cannot afford tuition. My proposal will use a sliding scale based on financial means. Additionally, I will introduce legislation that allows recent college graduates to refinance their public and private education loans at the federal discount credit rate, which is currently 1.25%, thus ensuring that our nation’s youth are not starting their professional lives buried under mountains of debt. Lastly, I will propose a simple change in the tax code to allow people with “head of household” tax status to be treated the same as those with “married filing jointly” status to claim student loan interest and tuition expense deductions.