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.
WASHINGTON, D.C. [6.9.23] – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) continued her fight to improve mental health access for students by reintroducing legislation to strengthen school-based mental health services for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The Mental Health Services for Students Act would help schools partner with local mental health providers to establish on-site mental health services for students. It would also provide training for school personnel on how to recognize, assist and refer students who may need mental health support. The legislation is co-led by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and cosponsored by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), and Alex Padilla (D-CA). “Providing mental health services health to students at school—where they spend a significant portion of their time—helps them thrive,” said Senator Smith. “It removes many barriers to access, such as trying to figure out how to leave school in the middle of the day, and promotes behavioral health equity.” “Kids spend most of their week at school, so it’s not surprising that their teachers are often the first to recognize they might be struggling,” said Senator Murphy. “This legislation would give schools the resources they need to identify students going through a tough time and connect them to the care they need. The alarms about the youth mental health crisis have been sounding for a very long time, and we need to continue investing in the solutions we know work.” “Nevada
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
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
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
Klobuchar, Smith Secure Significant Federal Funding For Projects Benefiting Moorhead and Surrounding Areas
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that they have secured significant federal funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 federal budget to support local projects benefiting Moorhead and surrounding areas. These projects will help boost entrepreneurship, mitigate flooding in the Red River, increase access to affordable child care and expand economic opportunities for veterans, servicemembers and their families. “From support for small businesses and flood prevention infrastructure in the Red River Valley to increasing affordable child care access and providing career pathways for veterans and service members, these projects will help address key issues
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that they have secured significant federal funding in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 federal budget to support local projects benefiting the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. These projects will bolster the region’s infrastructure, help expand health care access and upgrade health care facilities, address affordable housing needs, and improve public safety. “From making infrastructure improvements to expanding access to health care and affordable housing, these projects will help address key issues impacting Minnesotans on a daily basis. I am proud to have worked with local leaders to secure