For the past twenty-three years as a special education teacher, Nancy Smith has dedicated herself to the conviction that every child -- regardless of income, race, or disability -- deserves a quality public education.
Unfortunately, funding for public education in Michigan has declined nearly 20% since 1995. These cuts have disproportionately burdened low-income school districts, including many in District 65. Our children deserve to be given the tools to succeed and, as a former public educator, Nancy believes we should start by reversing two decades of cuts to public education and reduce inequities in school funding.
Additionally, Nancy recognizes the challenges posed by Michigan’s teacher shortage, which is driven, in large part, by inadequate teacher pay. As your state representative, Nancy Smith will strive to raise teachers’ starting salaries, reduce state-mandated cost-sharing schemes, and strengthen teachers’ unions. Teachers are the backbone of strong public schools, and they deserve the dignity of a decent paycheck.
Nancy believes that every student should receive an education that’s tailored to their individual needs and strengths. Unfortunately, state mandates often require students to take high-level courses that aren’t relevant to them. This is demoralizing to students, driving them away from public schools to avoid these requirements. She believes that this one-size-fits-all approach should be overhauled.
School counselors are crucial in ensuring that our students have access to adequate mental health care. Yet, Michigan’s counselor-student ratio is one of the worst in the nation. As your state representative, Nancy will fight to secure additional funding for school counselors and mental health professionals.
Nancy also believes that higher education should be affordable and accessible to all. Currently, the average college student in Michigan will incur $31,000 of student loan debt by the time they graduate.
Nancy understands the urgency of the student debt crisis, and, as your state representative, she will work to provide student debt relief through expanding Michigan’s student loan forgiveness program. She will also support proposals to make community colleges tuition-free and increase funding for technical education.
Finally, Nancy understands the role that cuts to higher education in Michigan have had in increasing tuition costs. To reduce the cost of tuition at our public colleges and universities, Nancy will work to increase investment in institutions of higher education.