Better Schools and Life-Long Educational Opportunities
Guiding principle: All our kids and grandkids deserve a chance at a world-class education that will provide them with a bright, prosperous future.
Shelli will work to strengthen Indiana schools and make college more affordable by increasing the availability of student grants and low-interest loans. Shelli believes we need to not only to expand worker training to prepare people for the jobs of tomorrow, but also implement lifelong learning opportunities so that current workers can be retrained thus enabling them to move up the economic ladder.
Shelli Yoder believes that public schools are one of Indiana’s greatest assets. Public schools are the route through which every child, no matter his or her economic background, can discover and develop their natural talents, and gain the skills and knowledge to succeed. Quality public schools are the best way for Southern Indiana to insure our economic prosperity in the emerging high tech, global economy.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is the latest version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, first passed in 1965. Although NCLB set strong reading, writing, math and other goals for national achievement, federal mandates have not been matched with sufficient resources and support for local school systems. NCLB also punishes schools that don’t test well, instead of providing additional support needed to improve.
Shelli Yoder thinks that public schools are primarily a local and state responsibility. But in Congress, Yoder will stand up for Indiana public schools, students, parents, and teachers by supporting the upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. However, Yoder wants to end NCLB’s top heavy testing mandates that have led to “teaching to the test” rather than a broad and stimulating education. Yoder also supports efforts to redefine student standards around career and college readiness.
According to some research, having a high value-added teacher for only one year can raise a child’s cumulative lifetime earning by $50,000.
Shelli Yoder celebrates great teachers and supports continuing education to help our teachers improve their teaching skills. She opposes those who attack our teachers for political reasons.
Early childhood education programs like Head Start help young children enter kindergarten with the necessary skills and knowledge to be “Ready to Learn.” Early education is one of the most effective investments a society can make. The dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education estimates that every dollar spent on early childhood results in a quadrupled return on investment for society down the road.
Shelli Yoder supports Head Start and other early education programs because they work and will resist all efforts to cut their funding.
Todd Young has turned his back on the needs of our students, schools, parents and teachers.
Todd Young says “education is not a federal issue.” But at a time when state government is cutting education funding, and local school districts which rely upon property taxes have lost millions in tax dollars because of the housing crisis, our public schools need all the support and help they can get from Congress.
But in voting for House Resolution #1, Todd Young tried to cut federal education programs by $5 billion, including $694 million in cuts to the Title I reading and tutoring programs. That would eliminate support for more than 950,000 students. Todd Young also wants complete elimination of the innovative “Race to the Top” program which stimulates school reform in the states. And Todd Young supports the Paul Ryan budget which would go much deeper by cutting another $2.7 billion in Title I funding,
Todd Young’s H.R. 1 vote also tried to cut more than 60% of funding for a program designed to encourage science and math teaching in schools. Failing to invest in science and math education could result in a long-term disaster for the American economy.
And Todd Young voted to cut $1 billion in funding for Head Start which helps students get “Ready to Learn” in school. If recent estimates regarding the long-run benefits of head start are accurate, this could result in $7 to $9 billion in future losses.
Shelli Yoder supports our local public schools, and our students, parents and teachers. In Congress, Shelli Yoder will fight for Southern Indiana’s fair share of federal funding so our students can succeed and help our communities prosper.
What are the top three public education priorities (pre-k through higher education) on which Shelli would focus in Congress and why?
Public education is one of the United States’ greatest contributions to humanity, and it has been one of the driving forces behind our economic and social development as a nation. Fortunately, it is possible to build bipartisan support for education because both Democrats and Republicans recognize its importance to the vitality of our nation. Shelli will work with anyone who wishes to strengthen public education.
Shelli’s top priority will be to protect public education from either wholesale or piecemeal dismantlement, which seems to be the goal of some in our society. She will always vote to build public education, either through increased federal funding, particularly for schools and students who need federal support to reach their educational goals, or support for innovative programs that show promise in helping our students reach higher levels of achievement.
Shelli firmly believes all children deserve an equal chance at a world-class education regardless of where they live. She wants to make sure students from rural communities and small towns like those scattered throughout Southern Indiana receive the same opportunities that are available to students in wealthy communities and in large cities for selective students. In some cases this means increased support for distance-learning options that provide individualized attention to students, or quality instruction and exposure to material that is difficult to find in remote school districts. Other cutting-edge technological and individualized learning solutions also make sense.
Finally, Shelli favors lifelong-learning opportunities, from pre-school and early education options that help children become “ready to learn” to skill retraining for workers who have been laid off or become unemployed. Lifelong-learning options must be widely available and affordable.
How, as a Member of Congress, would Shelli build respect for the education profession in order to help attract and retain the highest quality educators in pre-k through higher education?
Teachers deserve the same professional respect accorded to other professionals like doctors, lawyers, or scientists. A teacher’s career path is strenuous, requires intense licensing and training, and the actual job is among the most difficult yet important in our society today. We must work toward restoring the respect and support teachers previously enjoyed. That means Congress should not use the profession as a political game piece. Our education system as a whole must keep pace with global competition, but denigrating our teachers is no way to improve student achievement. Exactly the opposite is required: We must support and celebrate our teachers.
We also need to make the profession more attractive to high-school graduates in search of a meaningful and critical career. Congress should pass legislation that forgives student debt to students who make teaching a long-term career. Congress also needs to help current teachers afford ongoing graduate training. Because our nation trusts these educational mentors to pass on knowledge to future generations, they deserve more fair and equitable pay. We must make sure teachers have the support they need to do their jobs well along with adequate medical and retirement packages so we keep our best teachers.
What is Shelli’s position on increasing federal support for public higher education, particularly given the need for global competitiveness?
Shelli thinks public education must be one of this nation’s very top priorities. During a time when the federal government is faced with hard economic choices, we must never abandon the mechanisms that delivered our nation to greatness. Public education is one of the vehicles that maximized our national intelligence and directed it toward economic and humanitarian achievements unimaginable even a century ago. In Congress, Shelli will be an unfailing ally of public education because those in the next century will depend upon the students just as they have in the past. Shelli’s support for public education stems from the fact that the future of Southern Indiana depends upon our ability to educate our students and give them the tools to succeed in a globally competitive, high-tech environment.
Yoder Stands Up for College Students
In Congress, Shelli Yoder will stand up for Hoosier college students, vote to increase financial aid to help them attend, vote to keep student loan rates low, and work with colleges to reign in tuitions.
The future of Southern Indiana’s economy relies on the education of our young people and training a new workforce that can compete for jobs in the new high-tech, global economy. But the American economy is predicted to face a shortage of 23 million college educated workers by 2025. 9th District students must be ready to take those jobs.
That’s why Shelli Yoder will work to increase access and affordability to state colleges and universities, community colleges, and trade schools.
Despite the fact that about 80 percent of students work during the school year and 90 percent during the summers, 62 percent of Indiana college students still graduate with an average student debt load of $27,000.
That’s why Shelli Yoder will work to increase student grants and work study programs over loans, and to keep student loan interest rates low.
Tuition has risen 530% since 1982. If this trend holds, the cost of public education in 2016 will be over twice the 2011 costs.
Shelli Yoder will work with state colleges and universities to explore new ways to curb the escalating cost of college, including discounts for students from low-income and middle class families, and increasing the availability of online courses at lower cost.
When they were originally created, Pell Grants covered two-thirds of tuition and fees for a public four-year university. Today they cover less than one third of in-state tuition at Indiana University.
Shelli Yoder will oppose all attempts to further cut student financial aid programs, and instead will work to fully fund Pell Grants to help students in-need.
Stafford Loans help students pay tuition, and other eligible school expenses. In 2007, Congress reduced Stafford loans interest rates from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. The law is set to expire in July 2012, when the interest rate on new loans will double back to 6.8 percent. The Center for American Progress estimates that the total saving for Indiana students if the interest rate remains unchanged would be $270,000,000.
Shelli Yoder favors keeping interest rates on Stafford Loans at 3.4 percent and denounces efforts by Congressional Republicans to play politics on the issue so loans do not fall.
Congressional Democrats passed “Pay as You Earn” to cap student loan re-payments at 15% of a student’s annual discretionary income, and some will eventually fall to 10%. This plan will allow new graduates to take jobs in public service careers such as teaching and nursing where the country desperately needs new workers. It will also help out mid-career graduates who are still struggling to repay their loans.
Shelli Yoder wants to expand and speed up implementation of the ‘Pay as you Earn’ plan to help free students of their student loan burden.
Todd Young has turned his back on college students.
Todd Young says the federal government should have “no role” in higher education. He wants to shut down the Department of Education which means all federal student aid would be turned over to profit making banks and other private investors who will increase student loan rates.
About 7,000 undergraduates at IU Bloomington receive Pell Grants to help pay for tuition and costs. Despite this, Todd Young voted for the Paul Ryan budget, which would cut the Pell Grant program by $3.6 billion. Young wants to cut the maximum Pell Grant for the poorest students by more than $800 each year. And Young voted to strip Pell Grants from students who attend classes on a less-than-halftime schedule. Finally, Young voted to change income eligibility from $32,000 to $23,000 for the maximum Pell award, again taking federal support from those who need it most.