Education

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

Klobuchar, Smith Secure Significant Federal Funding to Improve Access to Affordable Child Care in Luverne

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that they have secured more than $2.6 million in federal funding through the Fiscal Year 2023 budget to improve access to affordable child care in Luverne. Specifically, the resources will enable the renovation, construction, and furnishing of a new child care facility to serve families in Luverne and surrounding communities.  “The struggle to find high-quality, affordable child care is a challenge for far too many parents in Luverne and across our state,” said Klobuchar. “By providing funding to build a new childcare facility, this project will help increase access to affordable child care in Luverne. I’m proud to have worked with local leaders to secure these resources.”  “Access to childcare is a key component to giving parents the freedom to work while ensuring their children are safe and taken care of,” said Smith. “Too often, people in rural communities have to travel long distances to take their kids to childcare. This is an important project that is going to expand access for people living in Luverne by making 186 new spots available. I’m proud of the work we did with local leaders to make this possible.”  The funding will transform an existing 30,000-square-foot facility into a childcare center for 186 children, including 24 infants, 42 toddlers, 60 preschoolers, and 60 school-age children.  Klobuchar has long been a leader in the fight to secure affordable child care and help parents re-enter the workforce should they desire to. Klobuchar leads the bipartisan Child Care Workforce and Facilities

Klobuchar, Smith Secure Significant Federal Funding for Local Projects Benefiting Brainerd and Little Falls

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that they have secured significant funding through the Fiscal Year 2023 (FY 2023) federal budget for local projects benefiting Brainerd and Little Falls. These projects will support the construction of a new dining facility at the Minnesota National Guard’s Camp Ripley training facility and increase access to affordable child care.  “From facility improvements at a key National Guard training center to expanding access to affordable child care, these projects will help address issues impacting Minnesotans on a daily basis. I am proud to have worked with local leaders to secure these funding commitments, and I know that these resources will make a real difference for Brainerd, Little Falls and the surrounding areas,” said Klobuchar.  “Supporting our National Guard, investing in the development of young children, and increasing accessing to child care are always worthwhile investments,” said Smith. “I’m proud of the work we did with local leaders to bring federal dollars to this community, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact these projects have on people’s lives.”  Funding secured by Klobuchar and Smith will help further the following priorities: $3 million to help the Minnesota National Guard construct a dining facility (DFAC), including improvements to utilities, emergency response services and other facility infrastructure at Camp Ripley. $600,000 for the Brainerd Family YMCA to purchase a vacant building and create a child care center that will serve an additional 74 infants and toddlers, helping meet the community’s child care needs. 

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Reintroduces Bill to Forgive Student Loan Debt for Beginning Farmers

WASHINGTON [12/20/22] – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, helped reintroduce legislation she co-sponsors to create a loan forgiveness program for beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as women, veteran, and minority farmers. The Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers and Ranchers Act, which is led by U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and also cosponsored by Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), would serve as an incentive for farmers to enter – and stay – in the agricultural industry and boost opportunities to grow successful businesses. “Agriculture is the backbone of Minnesota’s diverse

Senator Smith, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill Giving Tribal Colleges and Universities a Stronger Voice in Education Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), along with U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jon Tester (D-Mon.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), introduced bipartisan legislation – the National Advisory Council on Indian Education Improvement Act – aimed at giving Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) greater input over federal funding and policymaking that impacts them. “Minnesota’s Tribal Colleges are important institutions that serve Native and non-Native students alike in some of the most impoverished and geographically isolated regions of the country,” said Smith. “These institutions deserve a seat at the table when federal agencies make decisions that impact

Senator Smith Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Bill to Ensure Minnesotans Aren’t Forced to Pay Ex-Spouses’ Student Debt

WASHINGTON [9.22.22] – U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that legislation she co-led to provide relief to individuals with consolidated loan debt with a spouse – including victims of domestic violence and financial abuse – has passed the House of Representatives and will be signed into law by President Biden. The bipartisan, bicameral bill will allow individuals to sever joint consolidation loans with a former spouse, which will provide long overdue financial freedom for vulnerable individuals who are being unfairly held responsible for the debt of a former partner.  “It’s not fair for Minnesotans to be left on the hook

Senators Klobuchar, Smith Announce Significant Investment in Minnesota Childcare Programs on College Campuses

Washington, DC [9.21.22] — U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) announced significant federal funding that will help provide childcare for low-income parents who face additional challenges in accessing postsecondary education. The grants, which total over $650,000, will support four years of campus-based childcare programs at St. Cloud State University and Minneapolis Community & Technical College. “For far too many parents across our state, the struggle to find high-quality, affordable childcare serves as a barrier preventing them from pursuing higher education or reentering the workforce,” said Klobuchar. “This funding will enable parents attending St. Cloud State University and

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