Innovation and breadth of knowledge are critical assets in today’s highly competitive global market. Here in the wealthiest nation on earth, we should be nurturing the best and brightest minds from all socio-economic spheres by providing every child with the opportunity for a first-class public education. I will support legislation and programs designed to improve access to, and the quality of, public education.

I believe there are two areas of focus regarding education that most impact families in California’s 42nd Congressional District and the Inland Empire: 

1) We need to ensure that all students seeking a higher education can do so in a financially viable way.  I will work in Congress to legislate fair and sustainable lending that does not saddle students with crushing debt. 

2) I believe that healthy and enriched formative years are critical to a successful life path of our children, and I will work to protect early childhood programs, including Head Start and maintaining high school lunch standards.

I believe that pitting educational funding with other economic interests is a false choice, and that Congress should work hard to demonstrate the viability of developing opportunities on both fronts.

Addressing College Debt

While the rest of the world is taking strides to make higher education more affordable and accessible, any parent in the U.S. with a child in college can attest to incessant tuition hikes—sometimes from one semester to the next—and mounting financial burdens for parents and students. A degree from the most prestigious schools in our nation is almost impossible to access for all but students from the most privileged homes, and even a degree from our state university systems saddles the average middle-class family or student with cumbersome debt.

According to The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS)in 2014 seven in ten seniors (69%) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2014 had student loan debt, with an average of $28,950 per borrower. With high interest rates and sluggish salaries of entry-level jobs, this debt can become insurmountable for many students, resulting in default. Recent reports indicate that today “the United States has over $1.2 trillion of student loan debt with 7 million borrowers in default.” Student loan debts now account for 6% of the overall national debtThis is an unsustainable model, and will have a grave impact on the future economic stability of this country.
I will support legislation to lower interest rates on current loans, improve the terms and availability of existing loans and grants, and ensure fair and realistic repayment term so that students can establish independence, rather than be stymied by loan repayments and potential default.

Ensuring Healthy Early Childhood Education and Nutrition

Although numerous studies have indicated the importance of early intervention for children along the lower economic continuums, Congress is continually trying to chip away at early childhood education and nutrition programs. Hunger and lack of preparation for academic environments contribute to perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

All too often when Congress is faced with a budget shortfall, educational line items are targeted. There have also been measures introduced to compromise hard-won healthy food standards most recently promoted by First Lady Michelle Obama. 

I believe that children who go to school hungry cannot learn welland it does not make sense to chip away at federal school food programs while pushing for new tax incentives and loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and corporate interestsThis is short-sighted policyI will fight for programs to ensure that our children get the proper nutrition that they need to grow intellectually, emotionally and physically

I am also interested in programs that provide child care and scholarships for student parents.

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