Before he was a senator, Joe was just a dad to two kids, who coached their little league teams and helped them with their homework. He first got involved in public service as a parent who simply wanted to take a larger interest in kids’ education. As a member of his local school board, and later its President, Joe became familiar with the problems and challenges facing our communities’ schools.
He understands that there’s nothing more important for Indiana’s future than the education they receive today. We need to make America’s public schools the envy of the world at every level if we’re to continue to be leaders in the 21st Century.
Preparing our children for success starts early. Strong pre-K educations set up our kids to do better at every stage of their life. Joe has been a champion for expanding early childhood education as widely as possible to young Hoosiers, and he’s fought to increase funding for these programs.
While higher education, including two- and four-year degrees, has become an increasingly necessary requirement for today’s good-paying jobs, the cost of college has far outstripped inflation and left a generation of students struggling with crushing debt. The growing student debt issue isn’t just a problem for millennials—families across Indiana are having to dig into emergency savings and tap retirement accounts to help recent graduates struggle with a debt they can’t escape. And by forcing recent graduates to put off buying cars or making down payments on a house, their burden of student loan debt has knock-on effects across our economy. Joe’s fought to preserve Pell Grants to keep the promise of affordable higher education open to every Hoosier, no matter their background. And he’s introduced the Empowering Student Borrowers Act, bipartisan legislation to help students make wise borrowing decisions and graduate with less debt.
Higher education should be more affordable, but we also need to make sure it’s preparing graduates for the realities of the workforce. Joe’s focused on addressing the skills gap and making sure that students’ diplomas are backed by the real-world skills they’ll need in today’s economy.