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Our founding fathers recognized an educated citizenry would be a cornerstone of a strong democracy. Today, just like at our nation’s founding, a quality education for young Americans remains vital to the future success and prosperity of our country. I strongly believe that all children, regardless of their personal circumstances, deserve access to a good education that lays the foundation for a successful life.

From K-12 and secondary education to apprenticeships and workforce development training for adults, our education system faces several challenges and opportunities today. I remain committed to improving our nation’s education system and continuing to invest in the education and improvement of our greatest resource – the American people.

In order to invest directly into the potential of our young people in the 16th Congressional District, I recently hosted my 6th Youth Leadership Summit. This event allows me to hear directly from over a hundred student leaders representing 15 different high schools and inspires my work in Congress related to countless policy areas, including education and jobs training.


Primary and Secondary Education

As the son of a public-school teacher, I have a great appreciation for the dedication and hard work it takes to educate our youngest citizens. In determining how to improve our schools, I believe there is an appropriate and beneficial role for local communities, state governments, and the federal government alike. However, parents, along with teachers, principals, and local school boards, should always be the primary decision makers regarding their children’s education and the needs of their local schools.

For these reasons, I voted in favor of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which was signed into law in 2015. This bipartisan law replaced many of the most burdensome provisions of No Child Left Behind, including over-reliance on federally mandated tests and “one-size-fits-all” plans to improve struggling schools. This law maintained the goals of transparency and accountability in education, but put states back in charge of measuring school success and works individually to improve underperforming schools.

To learn more about how Illinois is implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, click here.


Postsecondary Education

Education is the key to a 21st Century workforce, whether it be for students who’ve recently graduated high school or for adult learners seeking new skills. I strongly believe Congress should be supporting students who pursue additional education through bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, or certification in skills.

For that reason, I introduced the Improving Middle Class Access to Higher Education Act (H.R.2595), which simplifies the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for middle class students and their families. Particularly as our economy continues to improve and businesses seek more skilled workers to fill jobs, Congress should make it easier for Americans to get the education and training they need to succeed.

If you’re interested in learning more about Financial Aid that may be available, please click here.

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