I have been lucky to receive a world-class education entirely within the public school system and to have spent my entire teaching career in public education. As your representative in Congress, I will use my experience to make our public education system the best in the world. No student will face inequalities of educational opportunity regardless of the right to pay, at any level, from pre-k through college. Every student will have the physical, digital, nutritional, and mental health resources needed to reach his or her full potential. Our public schools will train the next generation of world leaders, scientists, artists, educators, and skilled trades workers who will shape our future.
As a teacher, I am incredibly honored to release my education policy statement. This is our opportunity to create an educational system that will fuel a 21st-century economy and help us break down the institutionalized barriers that perpetuate racial, gender, and class-based division.
You can view the policy statement here.
In Kalamazoo alone, black students are 4x more likely to be suspended or expelled than white students. We know that aggressive disciplinary programs perpetuate the school-to-prison pipeline. It's time for each state to reevaluate its zero tolerance policies to ensure that every student is treated fairly and given the tools necessary to succeed in school and beyond.
Michigan House Bill 5619 — the "Michigan Restored Justice Law” — is a crucial step to end the school-to-prison pipeline in the state. This law uses victim-offender conferences instead of automatic suspension and expulsion, helping keep kids in school and encourages positive relationships between students and teachers.
However, this is an unfunded mandate. To make this work, we must provide the financial support necessary to bring social workers into our public schools and provide training for teachers and administrators tasked with fulfilling this mandate.
If you agree that we need to end the school-to-prison pipeline and provide kids with opportunities to succeed in school and beyond, help us send a message to Superintendent Whiston and the Michigan Board of Education. Sign our petition now!
Have you heard about the Plainwell-Otsego Concerned Citizens Group? If not, you should check out what they are doing. Last night, I had the privilege to talk with the group about how to become more effective grassroots organizers and how to maximize the electoral impact of a small but impassioned group of citizens. It is when I listen to groups like this that I get optimistic about what we are trying to accomplish.
Fifteen people from the community showed up and shared their stories with me. They have been marching, writing letters, making phone calls, and talking to their neighbors in defense of health care, environmental protections, women’s health, immigrant rights, education, gerrymandering, and many other causes. All of the people at the meeting expressed concern that they were not having the impacts they hoped for, and they told me they were becoming exhausted by the fight. Keep up the good work, your efforts count and are noticed.
I will do everything I can to get behind this type of grassroots, citizen organizing and action. This is hard work, but this is how we make elected officials take notice. Please join me, join the campaign, join a grassroots action group, and never give up. We need to take our government back!