Higher levels of education accompany higher levels of economic development. We must not allow the importance of education to be minimized, as it is the primary vehicle for economic development. We must ensure that every child has access to a high-quality education that will allow them to compete in the global economy.

Every Montanan who wishes to attend college should have that opportunity. To assist them in fulfilling their dream, we need to implement a program to provide the opportunity to attend college for free to individuals who are willing to work a minimum of 15 hours per week while attending school full-time, at an in-state institution for higher learning. Anyone who is willing to work their way through college will have the opportunity to create a better life while improving their community.

We must also invest in our teachers. We entrust teachers with our most precious commodity, our children. We expect that they will teach our children and help to instill our shared values in them. In light of this huge responsibility, one would think that teachers would be highly paid. Instead we pay teachers a salary that encourages them to leave the profession. This must change if we expect to continue competing in the global market. While other countries invest in their teachers, we pay them meager salaries that often force them to pursue other careers.

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