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, 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 skills as well as cybersecurity best practices to identify disinformation and online scams.  “Increasing media and digital literacy education can help combat disinformation and misinformation campaigns that seek to manipulate perceptions and sow division,” said Klobuchar. “These bills will provide students and veterans with the skills they need to make informed decisions about online content and protect themselves from exploitation.” “We need to equip communities with the tools to identify and avoid online scams, cyberattacks, and disinformation in the digital age. Our bills will strengthen resources for students and veterans to protect themselves online,” said Bennet. The Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act would provide $20 million in federal funding over the course of four years for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to administer a grant program to support digital citizenship and media literacy in grades K-12. These grants would be available to local and state educational agencies,

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 service option for school districts in low-income areas. These provisions are critical to fighting child hunger and food insecurity. “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of the child nutrition programs and the role they play in keeping hunger at bay for millions of children across the country. As schools close for summer across the country, families will soon lose access to free school meals and be faced with the prospect of increased food insecurity, weight gain, and learning disruptions,” said the senators. “As Congress develops legislation to support families impacted by high food costs, we must help ease the burden of these challenges and ensure that these child nutrition programs can fully meet children’s nutritional needs while they are at school, afterschool and summer programs, and childcare.” “More must be done to fuel children’s health and learning as millions of families continue to struggle with the fallout of COVID-19. Extending the

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Introduces Bipartisan Bills to Help Students, Families Make Financially Sound College Decisions

WASHINGTON, D.C. [04/29/2021]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced three bipartisan bills to help students and their families better understand the cost of college to avoid sticker shock, find the best value, and learn about student loans. The Net Price Calculator Improvement Act improves net price calculators to help students understand higher education costs and financial aid figures before they apply. The Understanding the True Cost of College Act creates a universal financial aid award letter so students can easily compare financial aid packages between schools. The Know Before You Owe Federal Student Loan Act makes loan counseling an annual requirement before new loans are disbursed—rather than just for

U.S. Senators Smith, Warren Successfully Secure More Than $40B for Childcare & Early Learning in Senate COVID-19 Relief Package

WASHINGTON, D.C. [3/6/21]—Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) successfully secured more than $40 billion for childcare and early learning resources in the Senate-passed COVID-19 relief package. With the funding from the package passed today, $10 billion from the December-passed relief bill, and the $3.5 billion provided in the CARES Act, Sens. Smith and Warren have made good on their push to secure $50 billion for childcare. “We’ve known that our country’s childcare system is on the brink of collapse, and that women are bearing the brunt of the cost,” said Sen. Smith. “My colleague Senator Warren

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith Press to Fully Fund Special Education and High-Needs Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/17/21]—U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) are once again pressing for increased investment in special education and high-need schools by helping reintroduce the Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers (PACT) Act. This legislation—led by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)—would put Congress on a fiscally-responsible path to fully fund special education services provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Title I on a mandatory basis.  “When we invest in education, we’re investing in the next generation of Minnesotans,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “It is critical to ensure that our state receives full federal education funding — anything less shortchanges Minnesota’s students. I’ll continue working to secure the special education

U.S. Sens. Tina Smith & John Thune’s Bipartisan Bill to Maintain Funding for Federally Impacted Schools During COVID-19 is Now Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. [12/08/20]—Bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) to help schools retain federal funding during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is now law. Their Impact Aid Coronavirus Relief Act was signed by President Trump last week. “Sen. Thune and I set out on a bipartisan effort to make sure federally impacted schools across the country were able to get the investments they need to continue operating and serving students during this pandemic,” said Sen. Smith. “I’m glad we could deliver on this and ensure that Impact Aid applications and funding will not be disrupted.” “It’s more important than ever

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