This pandemic has been challenging for everyone in our school system — students, teachers, parents, principals, and school boards. They’ve been left to figure this out, largely on their own, with no good options and not enough resources.
The number one thing we can do to get students back in classrooms safely is to get community spread under control and people vaccinated. However, that’s not the only investment we need to make. Even before the pandemic, too many of our schools were using outdated technology and holding class in crumbling buildings that hadn’t been renovated in decades.
That’s why I introduced the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act, to get funding to local districts to modernize classrooms by helping schools upgrade their physical and digital infrastructure. Infrastructure doesn’t only mean roads and bridges — it means our public education system. This builds on bills I’ve introduced in the past, and with President Biden committed to transformational investments in American infrastructure, we have a real chance to get this done.
We also need to support Ohio innovations in education, and Ohio is at the forefront of the movement to expand what we call “Full Service Community Schools.” These schools are often called community learning centers, and they provide comprehensive services such to students and their families, often including medical and dental services, transportation, and counseling for kids. These schools have a proven track record of success with tangible results like improving student attendance, improved social and emotional well-being, and academic achievement.
That’s why I also introduced The Full Service Community School Expansion Act which would provide the support and tools for other schools across Ohio to expand this model in communities large and small, urban and rural.
These investments in our public education system will not only help us recover from this pandemic, they’ll also help us build a better system long term.