I believe that everyone should have an education that will get him/her a well paying job. Our current K – 12 system just doesn’t do that. We need to create an education system that works for the 21st century. We need to nurture students. It is our job to help them find their strengths and provide them the tools that will turn those passions into careers. For some it may mean they stop their education at 18 years old, for others it may mean going to community college for two years or it may mean a four year degree, or beyond. No matter what, this education should not be a burden and should help the student achieve their goals. This education should provide resources and create opportunities for students to work in their chosen career.
As someone who attended both public K-12 and postsecondary schooling in the State of Minnesota, I can tell you we do have some of the best schools. However, it is not equal for all. I have only had the opportunity to experience the best education because my parents could afford to live in areas where public schools were well-funded. I was also able to attend a four year institution because my parents and grandmother were able to help me. This is not the case for most in our State. I want to ensure that everyone has the opportunity I had. This means we need to fully commit to funding our public education system and expanding it to including postsecondary education.
Minnesota’s laws already say that the State of Minnesota should appropriate 67% of the cost of public postsecondary education. As a State, we currently do not do that. We have over the past 20 years put more and more of the cost onto the students at State Colleges and Universities. The simple act of our State committing fully to this funding would put us on the path to the educational system we need to have for every student in the State of Minnesota.
Finally, we need to listen to the under-represented communities of our State and what they need. We need to ask what careers and skills are lacking, and train students in these areas.
There are no easy solutions when it comes to creating a better public education system, but the first step is recognizing where improvements need to be made and implementing them.
Together we can make this happen! As a great Senator once said “We all do better, when we all do better.”
Emily (Em) Antin