Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz Counties, CA March 7, 2000 Election
Smart Voter

The Importance of Education

By Debra Whitmore

Candidate for United States Representative; District 17

This information is provided by the candidate
In the United States, the most democratic institution we have is public education. We need to improve this system while providing access, equality and opportunity to all of our students.
As an educator for 18 years, I have been blessed to work with all types of students and families. I know their hopes, dreams and concerns. I also know how capable our students are when they are presented with relevant information and high expectations. I love being a teacher, and see this campaign as a way to help all of our communities.

However, I believe that within our own state there are school districts that we have allowed to fail. Education is the most democratic of all of our institutions. Indeed, it is through education and educational opportunities that people may pursue their goals and dreams. But, we need educational systems that work, and we need to help our students realize the value of their work and learning. Therefore, I have created a policy of granting a $10,000 grant to every high school graduate in order to pursue higher education or vocational/specialized training. Although not enough to cover 4 years of college education, it would be enough to help families send their children to a community college or vocational training program. Many students feel that they will not be able to continue their education after high school, and so they give up while in high school. Many families (especially as we have a growing gap between the rich and the poor) cannot send their children on.

The cost of this program would be approximately $39 billion a year, which is currently what the federal budget allows for education. Merely by transferring some funds from defense (this year Congress allocated more funds than the Pentagon had asked for) we can fund this program as well as the federally mandated educational programs. We can equalize access and opportunity. We can make a difference not only in the lives of our youth, but in the lives of everyone as a better educated populace will be able to provide the advances and services that we want.

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