I believe that high-quality public education is an investment in Florida’s future. Seminole County continues to be one of the top districts in the state, and I want to ensure that students continue to benefit from an excellent education. Unfortunately, Florida ranks 41st in the United States in terms of per-pupil spending, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Plus, teacher salaries are $9,000 lower than the national average.

We must do better for our children and teachers. As state representative, I will make public school funding a priority so that Florida will attract and retain highly qualified teachers. I believe in greater accountability for charter schools as well as more oversight for private schools, which currently receive an estimated $1 billion in state scholarship funds for low-income and special needs children. I also believe tenured teachers should have more control over their curriculums and that our children and teachers should be less burdened by standardized testing. We also must keep class sizes manageable and maintain favorable student-to-teacher ratios.

I am a product of public universities, including the University of South Florida and Florida State University as well as Florida public schools. Because of this, I understand how valuable our public university is and will fight to ensure all college students receive an affordable education. I support full funding of the Bright Futures scholarship program, and I also believe low-ranked universities need more funding – not less – to help them improve.