I’m a teacher, and I know the value of investing in public education.

As a teacher, I know that public education is a cornerstone of our society. I’ve been an educator for over 20 years, focusing on post-secondary education at St. Paul Technical College, Dunwoody College, and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. I’ve delivered practical education to a variety of technical and engineering industries, and I managed a degree program at the University of Minnesota for over 15 years that provided continuing education opportunities for construction workers.

I also grew up in a family that valued public education – my grandparents, parents, and many of my aunts and uncles were dedicated public school teachers for their entire careers, and I know that our teachers bring inspiring commitment and passion to their work every day.

Our schools are incredibly underfunded in Minnesota, and this can’t continue. We must invest heavily in our public education system, from pre-K through high school, and ensure that our kids are taught by the most qualified educators by protecting teachers’ collective bargaining rights and supporting a strong licensure process.

Minnesota is one of the worst states in the country for educational achievement gaps, with major disparities in academic performance and educational attainment on a group level between white students and students from minority communities, as well as between students from higher-income and lower-income households. We need to change this harmful reality by increasing our investment in all school districts, but especially districts that have historically been even more underfunded due to their lower property tax base. Solutions should include increasing teacher pay, expanding early childhood education and English-learner programs statewide, passing legislation like the 2020 Increase Teachers of Color Act, requiring implicit bias training for teachers and administrators, helping districts hire more student support staff, and more.

I also support increased investment in our public colleges and universities, and will work hard to make higher education more accessible to all. I’ve met with many students at the University of Minnesota to hear their concerns, and in addition to rising tuition costs and student loan debt, they’re justifiably worried about gun violence and access to affordable, healthy groceries. I hope to continue teaching at the University after being elected to the Senate, to maintain firsthand knowledge of students’ needs and concerns.

Prepared and paid for by Campaign of Ann Johnson Stewart, PO Box 46505, Plymouth, MN 55446