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As a lifelong educator, I am proud to be an advocate for students and parents in the United States Congress.  

Prior to coming to Congress, I served as an elementary school teacher, as a Head Start Coordinator, as a school principal, and as a member of the Miami-Dade County School Board.   Now, as a Member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, I draw on these experiences daily, and I prioritize the fight for quality education at the very top of my policy agenda. 

My specific priorities include:

  • Strong Funding for All Our Schools: Half a century after the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in our schools, students in different communities still lack access to the similar education opportunities.  As I fight for increased overall investments in education, I am fighting to ensure that all schools have the resources and personnel they need to ensure every child can succeed.   The achievement gap is not only an issue of justice—it’s an issue of economic competitiveness.  Our economy cannot prosper when so many of our schools falter. 
  • Ending High-Stakes Testing: As a former school principal I believe in accountability, but it must be transparent.  Florida’s FCAT is not. No other state in America deceives its communities by devising formulas that no person or school can decipher. For far too long students have been treated as experiments rather than real lives in high-stakes testing schemes, and this has serious impacts on our children’s well-being and their long-term performance in our schools.  It’s time to put the focus back on real teaching rather than rote testing.  
  • Mentoring:  In my decades of experience teaching, I’ve seen what works.  And a good mentor is often the most effective force for positive change in a young person’s life.   It’s been a lifelong calling for me to increase access to mentorship programs in Florida.  I am now working to integrate school-based mentoring programs into our federal education system.
  • Early Childhood Education: Early learning helps children succeed as they proceed through the grade levels and helps America compete in the global economy. Today, 70 percent of American households with children include two working parents or one unmarried working parent. It’s imperative that our families have access to quality early education and child care. 
  • Making College Affordable:The rising cost of college is squeezing students and families at a time when unemployment is still stubbornly high and average wages are too low.  I’m fighting to give our young people greater protections and additional purchasing power with a new Student Loan Borrowers’ Bill of Rights.

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