Senator Shaheen has been committed to improving K-12 and higher education for New Hampshire students throughout her career. As a former Dover school teacher, Shaheen understands that a high quality public education is essential for America’s children. She believes that every child must have the education and skills necessary to compete in the global economy. That’s why she has focused on giving students greater access to education in the growing fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
As Governor and State Senator, Shaheen made it a priority to strengthen New Hampshire’s schools. She continues that work in the United States Senate and is committed to strengthening our public education system to ensure that every child graduates from high school prepared to succeed.
Innovation Education: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Senator Shaheen believes that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are central to U.S. economic competitiveness and growth. Projections by the U.S. Labor Department show that STEM-related fields are expected to be the fastest growing occupations of the next decade, yet not enough students in the United States are pursuing education in these fields to keep pace with demand. To keep our workforce competitive and our students educated, Senator Shaheen has introduced the Innovation Inspiration School Grant program, S. 716, which provides new incentives for our schools to embrace extracurricular and non-traditional STEM education programs, such as robotics competitions or engineering software challenges. The legislation establishes a competitive grant program that will encourage schools to partner with the private sector, both for financial support and to provide mentors who can serve as guides and role models to students. By connecting students with well trained teachers and community mentors in the field, Senator Shaheen believes we can foster innovation at the high school level and inspire young people to pursue careers in the STEM fields.
Early Childhood Education
Many economists agree that for every dollar invested in quality early childhood education, our economy receives up to $17 in return. Senator Shaheen has made it a priority to expand opportunities for young children. In the Senate, Senator Shaheen has supported significant increases in funding for Head Start programs and quality child care. As Governor, she fought to expand public kindergarten, opening the door for an additional 25,000 children. To increase awareness about the importance of early learning, she launched a comprehensive statewide campaign that brought the business community to the table for the first time and formed the Business Partners for Early Learning.
No Child Left Behind
Senator Shaheen recognizes that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has an admirable goal: to provide every child with access to an excellent education. But in too many cases NCLB has tied teachers’ hands and punished schools when they needed help the most. And because the law was never adequately funded, it has been very difficult to implement and placed a serious financial burden on states and local communities across New Hampshire. In her short time in the Senate, Senator Shaheen has voted for significant increases in funding for NCLB and special education programs, to improve opportunities for New Hampshire’s school children and provide relief to local property taxpayers. Senator Shaheen is committed to making sure No Child Left Behind works for our schools and teachers.
Making College Affordable
For our nation to thrive, young people must be prepared to compete in a global economy – and that means receiving a quality higher education. But with college costs soaring, it is becoming more and more difficult for middle class families to afford these opportunities. In just the last ten years, the average cost of going to a public university has shot up 80 percent, and New Hampshire students graduate from college with the second highest average student debt in the nation. In the Senate, Senator Shaheen fought to increase the maximum Pell Grant to $5,550 to help low-income students go to college.
Senator Shaheen is committed to fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). She voted for legislation that provided an additional $47.5 million for special education in New Hampshire.