Jaime is where he is today because of the power of public education. It gave him, a poor kid from Orangeburg, a route out of poverty. Jaime believes education must build ladders for other hard working students to climb out of poverty and into the middle class. That’s why he believes passionately in investing in South Carolina’s schools and colleges, including our Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In the Senate, he will be a fierce champion for public schools, working to increase grants to rural schools, beef up teacher recruitment and retention efforts, and ensure our next Secretary of Education undoes the damage caused by Betsy DeVos.
School districts across the country have been hit hard by COVID-19. Jaime will help schools respond to the pandemic with increased support for health-related modernizations and increased funding to shore up losses in state and local revenue. He will also fight for universal broadband access to ensure that no students are left behind by remote learning. And when it comes to reopening, Jaime will ensure that local communities retain control over decision-making.
But South Carolina’s public schools are responsible for much more than academic development: in many communities, they serve as a much-needed resource for mental health, nutrition, and stability. Too many South Carolina schools lack enough teachers and resources to provide the basic opportunities students need, much less get ahead. Jaime is committed to ensuring that all kids can get a good education, no matter where they live in South Carolina. That means that schools in our poor and rural communities must get the resources they need for all children to achieve. It also means that the academic expectations and aspirations in all schools must be as high.
Jaime will also work to ensure that there are affordable educational opportunities for all students after high school graduation, whether that pathway is technical school, vocational training, or a college degree. There are thousands of jobs that pay a living wage but are waiting to be filled because applicants do not possess all of the necessary skills. Jaime will work to bridge that divide by expanding educational opportunities in South Carolina that match the 21st century economy.
Finally, Jaime and his family know the burden of student loans all too well. Jaime will fight to end the student loan crisis in this country and make college affordable for anyone willing to work hard.