One of the single most important responsibilities we have to our children is ensuring access to high quality opportunities in education from cradle to college. That’s why David is dedicated to equipping our children and young adults with the tools they’ll need to succeed in today’s economy.
In 2015, for the first time in more than a decade, Congress overhauled the nation’s elementary and secondary education policy through the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). David was front and center in this effort, and worked successfully to incorporate into the final law provisions taken from legislation he authored – the Community Partnerships in Education Act. Through David’s advocacy, federal education policy now includes enhanced supports for after-school and expanded learning programs as integral components of school improvement.
But beyond elementary and secondary education, there remain far too many obstacles standing in the way of college and the skills our young people need to compete in an ever-evolving economy. Here at home, David has organized a Youth Cabinet of high school students, and hosted a “Town Hall for the Next Generation” where he heard from Rhode Islander’s under the age of 30. Far too many of our students are forced to accept a lifetime of debt in exchange for a college degree, and entrance to the middle class should not come at so high a cost. Fueled by their stories, David’s championing legislation, backed by the White House, that would give students access to two years of community college at no cost while opening the path to an affordable four-year degree for low-income students. For graduates struggling to make ends meet under the weight of crushing student debt, David is backing legislation to allow borrowers with outstanding student loans to refinance at lower interest rates. And David has stood up against efforts to cut critically important student aid programs, like Pell Grants.
David is also focused on ensuring Rhode Islanders have access to multiple career pathways, because there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to learning, skill-building, and career and technical education. He’s helped bring federal funding to vital local organizations and institutions like YouthBuild and the Community College of Rhode Island, providing students with much needed resources and support services to help them develop skills in demand by employers.