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, 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 in the House by Representative Joe Morelle (D-NY 25). “The cost of college is a precarious balancing act for many students, and that’s when everything is going ‘right,’” said Senator Smith. “This bill would help provide financial stability for students facing a death in the family, steep medical bills, or any number of unexpected emergencies that too often force them to drop out of school.” “Every student deserves the opportunity to pursue higher education and achieve their personal and professional goals,” said Congressman Morelle. “Unfortunately, unexpected financial emergencies like a vehicle breaking down or the sudden loss of a job can derail years of dedicated work, preventing young people from completing their coursework or even causing them to drop out. That’s not right—which is why I am proud to partner with Senator Smith to introduce this important legislation and ensure students have the support and resources necessary to reach their
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