Mark is the product of public education, from elementary school through the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. And as an engineer and astronaut, Mark knows that every goal we have — fixing our healthcare system, protecting our climate and our Earth, and growing our economy for everyone — starts with a great education for every American, one that prepares them for great jobs today, and in the future.
That means starting young – expanding access to quality early childhood education for everyone. That means a K-12 education system that treats teachers like valued professionals, paying them a decent wage and giving them the tools they need – materials, resources, and support to grow in the profession — to succeed.
In Arizona we have seen teachers across the state stand up and demand change. Mark is proud to stand with teachers as they fight for higher pay and more funding. It also means ensuring all students have access to STEM classes and advanced placement classes.
Because whether you go on to college, to get a trade certificate, or directly to a job that pays a living wage, your education should prepare you to thrive in a rapidly-changing economy. All our kids, regardless of the path they take, need some post-secondary training to compete in a 21st Century economy. Right now, there are 5.9 million job openings in the country, many of which cannot be filled for lack of trained, qualified workers. We need to invest more in career training, apprenticeship programs and work to streamline professional certification.
Arizona has three world class universities and a strong community college system. And as the proud parent of an Arizona State University student, Mark knows what a great public higher education institution can do for its students and our economy — and he’s committed to making sure more students gain that experience without the burden of crushing debt.
That can start with fully funding Pell Grants and other financial aid, and lowering interest rates on federal student loans. The federal government should never use our students and their families to make money. The point isn’t to get a piece of paper and a big bill at the end of your education — it’s to make sure every American can build a comfortable life and contribute to a country that leads the world in innovation and stability.