As the mother of two San Diego public school graduates, Susan has always been involved with our local schools. Her volunteering as a parent eventually led her to run for the San Diego School Board and eventually serve as the President. That role has always defined much of Susan’s work in Congress when it comes to education policy.
A member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Susan believes education is key for us to remain globally competitive and must be the bipartisan issue of our time. She’s pushing for a focus on supporting local school districts and teachers, including new funding for early childhood education, grants to recruit and train new teachers and principals, better evaluations, and opportunities for professional development. Smart fiscal responsibility shouldn’t adversely impact our students and schools, which is why Susan continues to support funding for crucial education programs like IDEA for disabled children, Impact Aid for military students, and Title I funds for disadvantaged children.
No Child Left Behind
Also known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Susan wants the law to be more workable for teachers, students, and administrators. Currently, NCLB relies too heavily on punitive measures and doesn’t give provide enough support for those responsible for educating our children. Susan wants an approach that encourages student achievement by focusing on helping struggling schools rather than relying on sanctions.
Susan joined Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in San Diego to call for our country to focus on education reform and reauthorizing ESEA. Read about it by clicking here.
Susan was disappointed that this Congress has not passed a bipartisan reauthorization yet. Instead, Committee Republicans this spring moved forward with two highly partisan pieces of legislation that was strongly opposed by education, civil rights, disability, and business groups. She was proud to oppose this measure, and support the alternative legislation, which included pieces of her legislation on teacher and principal evaluations.
Dedicated teachers go hand-in-hand with student learning and student success. Susan is calling for renewed efforts to recruit a new generation of inspirational teachers and principals. She is also advocating for strong evaluation programs that will give teachers and principals the feedback and tools they need to grow and to reach their full potential as educators. While we need to do more to support hard-working teachers and principals, there needs to be accountability within the education system to ensure our children are learning.
When funding for educators across the country was in jeopardy in 2010, Susan supported an Emergency Education Jobs Fund, which brought $23 million to the San Diego Unified School District so teachers in our local schools wouldn’t get pink slips. Susan believes that blaming our country's budget problems on teachers or cutting their pay is wrong and gets us nowhere. It was Wall Street that caused the nation's fiscal problems not our hard-working public employees...and she said so on the House floor during debate about budget legislation.
This year, she went on the House floor multiple times to urge her colleagues to stop the interest rate hike. For a video, click here. As a product of the University of California system, she understands the value of public investments in higher education. Without Congressional action, college students would see their interest rates double to 6.8%. That would have meant an additional $1,000 burden for about 7.4 million students. Susan was proud to support and vote “yes” on legislation to stop this hike.
When it comes to helping college students, Susan played an important role in making the largest investment in higher education in decades. As a Member of the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Susan helped pass the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act into law to improve Pell Grants and to lower interest rates for student loans. Susan has also worked hard to make sure student service members have access to higher education by supporting the Post 9/11 GI Benefit and by passing legislation to block student loan fees in the event of deployments.
NCLB puts a heavy emphasis on academic performance on tests, but Susan recognizes that children still need emotional support and strong role models. There’s a mentoring gap in our country that leaves millions of children without a role model. As Co-Chair of the House Mentoring Caucus, Susan supports school-based mentoring programs to pair students in need with a responsible adult for guidance and inspiration.