“Investing in our schools will provide dividends for the future. … That's why I worked with all folks—Democrats, Republicans, Independents—to make major investments in our schools and in our education system so that each and every student can reach their full potential.”
“The most important thing a teacher has and the most important thing that a student has is that instructional time in the classroom. … When you're preoccupied with taking tests and teaching the test, it takes away the ability to teach kids how to think and think critically, and be able to be successful in the society we live in.”
Jon’s parents—one of whom was a public school teacher—emphasized the importance of hard work and a great education. As a former school teacher and school board member, the third-generation Montanan has worked tirelessly to strengthen public schools and expand access to education and job training.
After studying music at the College of Great Falls, Jon came back to work on his family farm and teach music at F.E. Miley Elementary, a local public school. He eventually joined the local school board and spent half a decade as its chairman. After the deregulation of Montana’s energy industry—and the resulting price increases across the state—Jon decided to run for the Montana State Senate. He served there for eight years, including one year as Senate President, before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006.
Since arriving in the Senate, Jon has championed the needs of workers, students, and educators throughout the state. He has fought to reduce the number of standardized tests in our schools and increase the number of teachers in the classroom. He has also worked to replace the expanded school voucher programs with expanded Pell Grant programs. At the same time, he has released a comprehensive strategy to create high-paying jobs through infrastructure projects and workforce development programs.