Senator Smith believes that a strong public education system, from early childhood to higher education, is one of the most important investments we can make, because education has the power to change lives. A high-quality education empowers and creates opportunity, allowing people to reach their full potential, support their families with good-paying jobs, and become well informed and engaged citizens.

Education provides a strong foundation for our economy and our communities, and it starts with the littlest kids and learners. Senator Smith has worked in response to the childcare shortages in Minnesota, she’s a proud supporter of legislation to provide high-quality affordable childcare to all parents, to support childcare providers, and boost supply in Minnesota.

Sen. Smith believes that every young person has a right to a high-quality K-12 education. She’s introduced legislation to address teacher shortages, particularly in rural areas, hard to staff subject areas, and to help improve teacher workforce diversity. She’s heard again and again from teachers about the challenges their students are facing and so she has championed several measures to support student mental health needs and well-being. When it comes to higher education, Sen. Smith believes that college has become unaffordable for too many. She finds it troubling that the average debt for students graduating from a four-year college in Minnesota is $31,000. She believes we need to rethink this system because it’s not fair to students, and it’s getting so that it is even slowing down our economy.

But Senator Smith also understands that ‘higher education’ doesn’t always mean a 4-year degree. Sen. Smith strongly believes that we need to increase our investments in two-year community and technical colleges, and workforce education overall to ensure that students are well-prepared to meet workforce needs. This type of education will help students obtain the in-demand skills that will help them land good-paying jobs that employers are hiring for now, not in the distant future.

Sen. Smith is also committed to addressing the opportunity gaps that prevent too many students from reaching their full potential. She believes that means ensuring that every student, from LGBTQ youth, to those struggling with a challenging home life, mental health issues, or immigrant Minnesotans’ has the support they need to succeed.

Finally, Sen. Smith understands that outside the classroom our kids are facing many barriers and she strongly supports reforming and expanding the Child Tax Credit to invest in children and reduce child poverty in Minnesota and across the nation.

Latest Releases

Senator Smith, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Address Teacher Shortages in Low-Income Areas and Communities of Color

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL-10) and Haley Stevens (D-MI-11), introduced a bicameral bill that would address severe nationwide shortages of early childhood and K-12 teachers that disproportionately impact students from low-income backgrounds and students of color.  Exacerbated by low pay, school leadership instability, and poor teaching conditions, schools in low-income communities struggle to retain experienced, qualified education professionals.  On average, teachers are paid 23.5 percent less than other college graduates working in nonteaching fields, and teachers in low-income schools are more underpaid than teachers in more affluent schools.  The Retaining Educators Takes Added Investment Now (RETAIN) Act creates a fully refundable tax credit for teachers, paraprofessionals, mental health providers, and school leaders in Title I schools and for educators, program providers, and program directors in Head Start, Early Head Start, and Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funded early childhood education programs.  The tax credit increases as these professionals become more experienced to incentivize retention. “Public school teachers work every day to meet the academic and emotional needs of their students,” said Smith. “And yet they remain largely underpaid. This is contributing to teacher shortages, which disproportionately affect students from low-income backgrounds and students of color. That’s just wrong. The RETAIN Act will help raise teacher pay, address teacher shortages and ultimately help students get the best education possible.” “We have a teaching shortage in communities across Illinois and the country because we pay our

Senator Tina Smith Introduces Bicameral Bill to Support Apprenticeship Colleges

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) reintroduced the bipartisan Supporting Apprenticeship Colleges Act of 2023 to help increase enrollment in apprenticeship programs. The legislation would provide grant funding to help apprenticeship colleges expand outreach to potential students and employers, improve academic advising programs and address common barriers to degree completion like childcare access and support for first-generation students. Apprenticeship colleges are institutions of higher education that sponsor registered apprenticeship programs. “Apprenticeship programsare a proven and effective way to prepare students for the working world, connect them to good-paying jobs and in-demand careers,” said Senator Smith. “This bill will help support Apprenticeship Colleges and make them more accessible for students. Supporting a well-trained workforce is a win for students, employers and the economy.” Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN) and Pete Stauber (R-MN) introduced companion legislation in the House. “I’m working to create good-paying careers for Minnesotans and ensure every young person knows that they have the opportunity to succeed,” said Rep. Craig. “Our state is strong when our workforce is strong, and that’s why I’m working across the aisle with Rep. Stauber to give more students and employers the hands-on support they need.” “Our rural economy in northern Minnesota is dependent on skilled trade workers. I’m pleased to reintroduce the Supporting Apprenticeship Colleges Act along with Representative Craig to help combat the shortage of these workers. Apprenticeships are key for hands-on learning opportunities and institutions like the Finishing Trades Institute of the Upper Midwest provide crucial workforce pipelines. They stand

Senator Smith Introduces Bill to Provide Financial Stability for College Students Faced With Unexpected Emergencies

Washington [5.1.23] – This week, Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) reintroduced legislation to ensure college students are able to stay enrolled in school in the face of unexpected emergencies. For many students, paying for college requires carefully balancing student loan debts, jobs, and studies, which can be easily derailed by an unexpected costly event. The Emergency Grant Aid for College Students Act would provide financial stability for students struggling to manage a sudden death in the family, car repair, medical bill or any number of financial emergencies that too often force students to drop out of school. The bill was introduced

Senator Smith, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Help Make College Textbooks More Affordable

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Angus King (I-ME), and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), along with U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO-02) introduced bicameral legislation designed to help students manage costs by making high quality textbooks easily accessible to students, professors, and the public for free.  The Affordable College Textbook Act would authorize a competitive grant program to support the creation of and expansion of open college textbooks—textbooks that are available under an open license, allowing professors, students, researchers, and others to freely access the materials. “Textbooks are a key part of a college education – but for

Senators Smith, Grassley Introduce Bipartisan Bills to Help Students Navigate College Costs

WASHINGTON [2.27.23] – Today, Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) reintroduced three bipartisan bills to help students and families make informed decisions about borrowing for college. The bills ensure that students get the full picture when choosing a college and taking out loans. From the initial college search, to the acceptance of financial aid, to counseling once in college, the bills would help college students avoid sticker shock, find the best college for their budget and avoid taking out ill-advised and oversized loans. In December 2022, the Government Accountability Office issued an alarming report, finding that colleges are misleading

Klobuchar, Smith Secure Significant Federal Funding to Boost Manufacturing and Transportation Workforce in Southern Minnesota

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that they have secured more than $1.9 million in federal funding through the Fiscal Year 2023 federal budget to boost the manufacturing and transportation workforce in Southern Minnesota. Specifically, these resources will support Riverland Community College’s Workforce Development Learn and Earn scholarship program. This initiative enables students to participate in manufacturing and transportation programs to prepare them for careers as high-skilled technicians.  “Our manufacturing and transportation sectors are key to the economic success of communities across Southern Minnesota. By allowing more people to enroll in Riverland Community College’s