Hrant believes that every child deserves the chance at a good education.
Hrant knows the value of a good education, having gone back to school for graduate and post-graduate degrees to help him improve his own advocacy skills and knowledge. He wants to ensure that our children continue to benefit from the best possible public education from outstanding educators like his mother, who dedicated her life to her students for over 40 years as a public school teacher. He also wants to make sure we hold students, teachers and politicians accountable for school performance, to help ensure all of our children have the chance to succeed. As your Delegate Hrant will work to:
Prioritize early education
Hrant strongly supports President Obama’s efforts to increase access to quality pre-K education. In fact, it was one of the top strategies that the United Way used during his tenure to help local communities close the achievement gap, in order to help ensure all students achieve their full potential with regards to test scores, grade point average, college enrollment and completion rates. And while Montgomery County schools continue to be among the top in the nation, the gap in performance continues to grow. In the meantime, studies show that early education helps to ensure that all of our children start with a strong foundation.
Ensure all children receive the support they need to reach their full potential
Hrant believes that we need to shift our focus from “teaching to the test” to ensuring all students (and parents) receive the support they need both inside the classroom and out of school. While it is important for all of our children to acquire certain basic knowledge and skills as students, we should expect more from our schools, teachers and politicians. That means increasing teacher and community engagement, to replicate innovative efforts like Broad Acres and Daly Elementary Schools, which dramatically improved student performance. It also means smaller class sizes, which requires increased funding for school construction to help address our overcrowded schools. We must also ensure that teachers have a seat at the table in developing any future testing measures, as we are now testing our children on material that is not taught in the classroom. Hrant knows that every child is special and has something to contribute, but it is up to all of us to provide the necessary support to help ensure their success.
Make higher education more affordable
Despite the recent economic downturn, the most telling numbers are the unemployment rates based on education, which in December 2013 were: 12.4% for individuals without a high school degree; 8.3% for those with a high school degree and no college education; 7.7% if the individuals completed some college education; but only 4.5% for individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher. While some individuals may prefer to pursue job training opportunities, the bottom line is that if an individual wants to go to college, we need to make sure that cost is not a barrier at our public universities. Unfortunately, for many families, even in District 16, parents still worry about whether they will be able to afford college for their kids and the impact it may have on their retirement. Hrant still has 22 years of payments left on his law school loans, so he knows firsthand the financial pressures higher education can place on a family, especially as students are taking on more of these financial responsibilities themselves.
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