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 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. 

Klobuchar, Smith Secure Significant Federal Funding for Local Projects Benefiting Iron Range

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that they have secured significant federal funding for local projects benefiting communities on the Iron Range. These projects will help strengthen emergency services infrastructure, expand access to affordable child care, and enable key infrastructure improvements.  “This federal funding will have a real impact for communities across the Iron Range. From investing in emergency response services and improving water infrastructure to increasing access to affordable child care, these projects will address key issues impacting Minnesotans on a daily basis. I am proud to have worked with leaders from across the Iron Range to secure the resources for these projects, and I look forward to seeing all the good they will do,” said Klobuchar. “The Iron Range deserves strong federal partners and I’m proud of the work we did with local leaders to bring these investments here,” said Smith. “From making important water infrastructure improvements, supporting emergency response services, increasing access to child care, and expanding housing and shelter resources, these projects are going to have a real, positive impact on people’s lives.”  Klobuchar and Smith have secured federal investments to further the following priorities: Improving water infrastructure  $4 million for the East Mesabi Water Project, which will strengthen water infrastructure in Aurora and other Range communities.  Strengthening emergency response services $1.3 million for the Ely Area Ambulance Service Joint Powers Board to build a centralized emergency response facility.  Increasing access to affordable child care $1.2 million to help United Way of Northeastern

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Reintroduces Bill to Help Schools Overcome Teacher Shortages in Minnesota, Across the Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. [08.02.22] – Today, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.)—a member of the Senate Education Committee—reintroduced legislation to help schools and districts in Minnesota and across the country facing teacher shortages.  More than 40 percent of the nation’s small, rural school districts struggle to adequately staff their schools, and shortages are most acute in certain subject areas. There is a growing need for STEM, foreign language, and special education teachers. Additionally, there is a severe lack of racial diversity—nationwide teachers of color compromise only 18 percent of the teacher workforce.  “I’m hearing from Minnesota school superintendents about the many vacancies they’re struggling to fill. More than 40 percent of our nation’s small, rural school districts report that it’s

Senator Smith, Assistant Speaker Clark Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Expand Trauma-Informed Practices in Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA-5) introduced legislation to improve support for youth with the Trauma-Informed Schools Act. The bill would make key federal funding sources available for teachers, staff and after school programs to support trauma-informed practices in school settings. The bill also defines “trauma-informed practices” for the first time in federal education law, ensuring that such practices are evidence-based and help all students. The bill is co-led by Congressmen Mike Quigley (D-IL-5) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1). The bill would support positive behavioral interventions,

Klobuchar, Bennet, Slotkin Introduce Bicameral Legislation to Strengthen Media Literacy Education and Improve Personal Cybersecurity

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) introduced two pieces of bicameral legislation to strengthen media literacy education to teach Americans the skills to identify online misinformation and disinformation. The Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act would create a grant program at the Department of Commerce to teach students digital citizenship and media literacy skills to help them think critically about online content. The Veterans Online Information and Cybersecurity Empowerment (VOICE) Act would create a grant program at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to teach veterans digital and media literacy

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Joins Colleagues in Push to Fight Food Insecurity as Benefits Cliff Approaches

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) joined 32 of her Senate colleagues in a push to extend child nutrition waivers ahead of their expiration and enact a robust set of child nutrition priorities. With school summer break already underway in many states, it is vital that Congress extends and expands these programs as low-income families are facing a steep benefits cliff when the waivers expire on June 30, 2022. In their letter to Congressional leaders, the Senators call for extended child nutrition waivers, the creation of a nationwide Summer EBT program, and expanded community eligibility (CEP), a flexible meal

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