Education is a universal right, and no one should have to go into debt for the opportunity to achieve their American dream. I envision a future where our children are provided tuition-free access to higher education. Let them become well-educated members of our society, and let their success be founded on the hard work that the men and women who educate them put forward. An investment in education is an investment in the longevity and well-being of the human race.

Through my PhD program and my independent pursuits, as well as a career in higher education administration, I’m working hard to shape state and national policy that supports:

Tuition-free Higher Education for every American citizen. Access to education is a universal right, and that right should be extended beyond the K-12 classroom into higher education. I envision up to five years of subsidized tuition and fees for the pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, and an additional, annually reviewed subsidy for graduate students. When affordability is the gatekeeper to higher education, everyone loses.

A $100,000/year minimum salary for K-12 teachers. Increasing K-12 educator salaries will increase the competition for these fields, creating greater opportunities for 1) states to develop more thorough and meaningful credentialing processes for new teachers, 2) people who have dependent expenses to make a career out of or career change into teaching, and 3) states to decrease public educator dependency on social services.

A “Castle Cost” that requires federal funds for defense spending be matched with the same amount added to public education funding. If we invest in the castle, we better make sure our people are taken care of, too.

In California, education bond oversight rules to ensure that bonds for schools are vetted through a formal system so voters understand fully what they are paying for. This includes rigid cost-benefit analyses, and objective return on investment analyses that are published no earlier than two weeks before voting day.

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Formal Bio: JESSE LAWSON is a PhD student at Northcentral University and information systems administrator at Butte College in Oroville, CA. He received a master’s degree in English from National University and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from American Military University. His research addresses two primary areas: (1) consumer psychology in higher education administration, and (2) data science and analytics in the social sciences. His dissertation explores how machine learning algorithms compare to human-generated processes of predicting student outcomes, and what it means if people are better at predicting student dropout behavior than algorithms. He is the author of Data Science in Higher Education, a technical reviewer for Packt Publishing, and a former technical reviewer for the International Journal of Computer Science and Innovation.