"There are many problems, but I think there is a solution to all these problems; it's just one, and it's education." ― Malala Yousafzai
America's children deserve the best in education we can provide. Unemployment rates are lower and earnings are higher with higher levels of educational attainment. Unfortunately, many barriers to educational achievement exist in the United States.
We must strengthen our public school system and halt efforts to take dollars away from public schools. We must look for innovative ways to improve our K-12 schools so that students are prepared for the work force and for the rigors of higher education. We must provide universal pre-K so that children enter the educational system with the skills necessary to thrive.
We must address mental health issues that affect our students. Innovative programs such as the Williamson County Child and Youth Behavioral Health Task Force should be supported and expanded. We must ensure that our youth have access to a full spectrum of mental health resources.
We must continue to work to lower drug and alcohol use among our students. Drug and alcohol use among students leads to learning impairment, decreased educational attainment, and higher rates of dropping out of school. Higher dropout rates affect the economic success not only of individual students, but of the United States as a whole.
We must work toward providing tuition-free higher education programs. Several states, including Tennessee and Oregon, have already introduced programs to cover tuition expenses for students, and several other states are aiming to do the same. We must expand on and extend these programs across the United States, and build on these programs as we learn how best to provide this access to our youth.
We must provide quality education for all America's children.