Jon believes public education is the great equalizer in this country. As a former public school student, teacher, and school board member, Jon knows how important access to a quality public education is to Montana’s rural way of life—and that begins as early as pre-kindergarten. From Glendive to Ravalli County, Jon has secured millions of dollars to support Montana’s Head Start programs, ensuring that Montana kids have the tools they need to thrive right out of the gate.
Jon is committed to ensuring schools in Montana and across rural America can recruit and retain top-notch teachers. In order to boost teacher recruitment in rural Montana, Jon introduced the Rural Educator Support and Training (REST) Act and the Native Educator Support and Training (NEST) Act. These bills work to address the shortages of educators in Montana, both in Indian Country and at large. The REST and NEST Acts strengthen teacher workforce by providing scholarships, loan forgiveness, and professional development opportunities to educators who commit to work in rural schools. Montana’s future leaders deserve the best of the best when it comes to their education, and getting America’s brightest teachers in rural classrooms is the first step.
He is also working with teachers, parents, school board members, and administrators to ensure that policies coming out of Washington D.C. don’t stifle creativity in the classroom. He helped roll back provisions of No Child Left Behind, has passed legislation to strengthen local control over our state’s schools, and has pushed back against efforts to privatize public education and divert critical resources away from schools with limited resources.
Jon believes education doesn’t stop at high school, and he is working to make it easier for Montanans to continue learning. He knows to achieve this, we’ve got to make college more affordable and ensure job training and apprenticeship programs stay up and running. By restoring year-round Pell Grants, supporting the Perkins Loan and Public Service Loan Forgiveness Programs, leading the successful fight to keep Montana’s Job Corps centers open, and continuing investments in to programs like TRIO, Jon is fighting to ensure that a price tag does not determine anyone’s opportunity to learn.