by Félix Pérez
In the world of political pundits, the outcome of the contest between Jacky Rosen and her opponent could well determine whether control of the US Senate switches hands in the fall. But for educators, control of the Senate matters less than which candidate is better when on public education and issues that affect students.
Rosen is going up against incumbent Dean Heller, a first-term incumbent whose record on education has garnered low marks. In its most recent Legislative Report Card, the National Education Association gave Heller an ‘F.’ Heller voted for the nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary despite the vocal opposition of many of his constituents. He voted for an amendment that provides tax advantages for high income taxpayers to finance tuition at private K-12 schools. He also supported the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is estimated to cost Nevada $280 million in education funding over the next 10 years.
Rosen, on the other hand, elected to Congress in 2016, has earned the praise of educators and public education advocates for her record on public education, most notably for her vocal advocacy for improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and encouraging young girls to explore STEM careers.
Following are five facts about Rosen.
- Nevada educators support her. Rosen is recommended by the Nevada State Education Association. “Congresswoman Rosen has been a reliable partner working toward the vision of a quality public education for all Nevada students regardless of zip code or income level,” said Clark County special education teacher and NSEA President Ruben Murillo Jr.
- A national children’s advocacy organization honors her. Rose was recognized recently as one of Congress’s “Champions and Defenders of children” by First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. “Whether it’s fighting for access to health care or investments in STEM education, I will always strive to be a strong voice in Congress for our kids and their success,” said Rosen. “I believe that the true character of a society is revealed in how we treat our children.”
- National Education Association gives her an ‘A.’ Rosen earned an ‘A’ on NEA’s Legislative Report Card. Among her votes, she opposed the Trump tax cuts, which undermines public education funding and funds private school voucher tax benefits for the wealthy. Additionally, she voted against the legislation designed to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, supported restoring and increasing funding for after-school programs, and opposed a budget resolution that called for deep cuts to programs such as education and health care to pave the way for massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.
- Voted against tax cut bill that cuts education funding. The House bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, cuts public education funding and creates private school voucher schemes for the wealthy. The bill, a multi-trillion-dollar giveaway to the wealthy and corporations, could put as many as 133,000 educator jobs at risk and cut education funding by as much as $152 billion in the next decade. “The bill allows up to $10,000 per year from these accounts [529 college savings plans] to be used for tuition at private K-12 schools — a poorly veiled voucher-like program that largely benefits families who can already afford private school,” wrote Marc Egan, director of government relations for NEA.
- Authored bipartisan STEM bills passed by the House. Rosen introduced two bipartisan bills to improve STEM education. The bills were passed unanimously by the House of Representatives as one combined bill. The Building Blocks of STEM Act directs the National Science Foundation to allocate funding more equitably for research in the Discovery Research PreK-12 (DRK-12) program to studies with a focus on early childhood. The Code Like a Girl Act creates two National Science Foundation grants to research and fund computer science programs that encourage early childhood education in STEM for girls under the age of 11. The “disparity between computing and scientific talent and employer demand really starts as far back as elementary school,” said Rosen in her remarks on the House floor. “Young girls should know that they’re more capable of succeeding at STEM,” said Rosen, who began her career as a computer programmer and software developer.