As a mother of two and a University of New Mexico graduate, I understand the vital role education plays in creating a strong economy and preparing our children to compete in a global market. I believe that by making investments now in education by enrolling and retaining students in New Mexico universities, colleges and technical schools, our state will continue to thrive and bring in new businesses and industries. From supporting and keeping good teachers to giving parents a greater role in their children’s education, I will continue to advocate for improving our schools.
In June 2013, I joined the entire New Mexico congressional delegation to introduce legislation to strengthen science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and training programs in New Mexico and the United States. The STEM Support for Teachers in Education and Mentoring (STEM²) Act includes a package of initiatives designed to improve student interest and performance in STEM skills. It would help teachers and schools better engage students in STEM fields by providing additional professional development resources and facilitating collaboration among the business and education communities in order to better identify STEM skills needed by the workforce.
Investments in STEM education are investments in America’s future. For our state and our nation to innovate and compete in today’s global economy, it’s vital that we educate our students in the high-demand fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This legislation will give schools, teachers, businesses and communities the resources necessary to prepare New Mexico’s students for the jobs of the future.
Making College More Affordable
The cost of college is increasing at an alarming rate, keeping higher education out of reach for far too many. Graduating from college is one of the best indicators of future economic success, and we should be doing everything in our power to make college more accessible and more affordable for all New Mexicans and Americans. The reality is that Americans are now saddled with $1.2 trillion of student loan debt, burdening households and preventing economic growth.
I was a strong supporter of bipartisan legislation to lower the interest rates on federally-subsidized Stafford student loans. While this legislation provided relief to thousands of New Mexico students, Congress must focus on long-term solutions to address the soaring cost of college and reign in student loan debt as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.