Tim believes that we must improve access to quality education if we want to prepare students and workers for success in the modern economy. He supports smart investments in education—from early childhood education to college and workforce training—and has learned through years of experience in Virginia that no one path is right for everyone. Drawing on his years working in his dad’s ironworking shop and his experience teaching in Honduras, a key focus of Tim’s work in public service has been strengthening career and technical education (CTE) programs that teach students the skills to succeed in high-demand, good-paying jobs.
Tim believes a well-educated population is the key to having the most talented nation on earth. Under Tim’s leadership as Governor, Virginia’s innovative investments in education turned the Commonwealth into a magnet for talent. Through decades of experience, Tim learned that a huge part of remaining an attractive location for emerging industries and expanding businesses is having a skilled workforce.
To make America the top country in the world for education, Tim supports reforms like making Pre-K universal for all three- and four-year-olds, strengthening our K-12 public schools, supporting high-quality teachers and school leaders, renewing our focus on career and technical education, and dramatically reducing the cost of college. As Governor, he expanded the number of children enrolled in Pre-K by nearly 40 percent and helped expand the number of college and university facilities in Virginia to attract top students and faculty. In 2007, under Tim’s leadership, Education Week ranked Virginia the state where a child was most likely to succeed.
In the Senate, Tim has made improving America’s education system a central focus of his work. He played an instrumental role in the bipartisan Senate education reform bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This legislation decreased the emphasis on standardized testing and gave states more flexibility. It also included provisions Tim wrote to help prevent sexual assault and improve access to K-12 career and technical education programs.
Tim has urged Congress to prioritize child care reforms. He introduced a proposal with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) that would expand child care access to more than one million children, lower child care costs for families, and raise wages for child care providers.
Tim is a founder and co-chair of the Senate CTE Caucus, which promotes improving access to career and technical education programs to ensure students of all ages are prepared with the skills they need for the jobs of the 21st century. Tim knows that not everyone’s path to a successful career will or should go through a four-year college, and he is working to expand the critical role CTE and workforce training programs play in growing our economy. Tim has sponsored and passed several pieces of legislation to raise the quality of CTE programs at schools in Virginia and across the country.
An estimated 55% of Virginia college students graduate with student debt. Tim is pushing for reforms to reduce the burden of student loan debt and make college and job training more affordable, including the JOBS Act to expand Pell Grant eligibility for job training programs, increasing Pell Grant awards for school, expanding access to public service loan forgiveness, providing financial counseling to students, and making it easier for students to transfer from community colleges to four-year schools. Key parts of Tim’s legislation to give public servants like servicemembers and teachers the debt relief they have earned passed into law in 2018. At Tim’s request, the Biden Administration implemented further reforms in 2021 to ensure that public servants can get the loan forgiveness they were promised and earned. He will continue pushing for solutions so Americans are not held back by mountains of debt.