Peter Harrison & Mt St Helens | Candidate for Congress in SW Washington 3rd CD

Every child deserves a free, appropriate public education

  • I believe our public schools should get kids ready for a life well-lived, not a life well-tested.
  • College isn’t the right choice for everyone. I support offering Career Technical Education & Art classes in schools so kids can learn what they love before choosing a career path.
  • Today’s workplace demands workers who have more than a high-school diploma. We are leaving the job of educating our children half-done! I support two years of community college so our kids are workplace-ready.

Children may be 24% of our population, but they are 100% of our future. Today’s children will build the bridges, create the businesses, and bring home the paychecks that power tomorrow’s economy. When our children and our children’s schools succeed, we all benefit. Money spent on education is not wasted.  It is an investment in the future of our country and our own well-being.

Well-tested is not the same as well-educated . Testing will always have a place in education, but its proper place is in the back-seat, behind a balanced education programs that prepares students for a life well-lived.

A college degree is not the right path for every student. I support offering Career Technical Education (CTE) classes in all our middle and high schools because there are well-paying jobs that do not require a four-year degree and many people are not suited to a job where they sit behind a desk with a computer on it. Offering CTE classes in our schools allows our children to explore different career alternatives so they can figure out what they want to do “when they grow up.”

My personal experience has taught me that art, music, and drama, and other classes foster creative, “thinking outside the box” skills that are vital to problem solving in the modern world. I support including them in our school curriculum.

Student success starts with arriving at school ready to learn. Students who suffer from food and housing insecurity cannot do that¹, and schools with high numbers of students receiving a free or reduced cost lunch (an indicator of poverty) tend to perform poorly compared to schools where that is not the case². We cannot address school performance without addressing poverty.

Learn More: Video Education and Poverty

Students who used vouchers to transfer into private schools, “experienced significant losses in achievement,³” compared to those who remained in a public school. Voucher programs do not help our students or our country succeed, and are a bad deal for American taxpayers.

Finally, I have great respect for the many professionals who work in our schools. My first job after college was working as a Computer Programmer at the Glendale Unified School District in California and I volunteered many hours at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) as a science and chemistry educator. My mother-in-law, my wife’s siblings and most of their spouses are school teachers, administrators, or counselors here in Southwest Washington, and my mother was a classroom assistant who worked with children with learning disabilities. The people who work at our schools are hard-working professionals who give their all to help our children succeed. They deserve our support and our respect.

Jaime Downer Vote Graphic
Our Congresswoman does not support quality education in America

  • She voted in favor of scrapping the Department of Education’s “gainful employment rule” that required for-profit colleges to demonstrate their degree program contributed to positive employment outcomes for their students in order to qualify for the Federal student loan program. (HA 94)
  • She voted to block the construction of school-based health clinics in impoverished communities. (HR 1214)
  • She regularly voted (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, missed vote in 2016) to slash education funding and funding for Medicaid programs that serves 1/3 of America’s kids while giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy. (HCR 34, HCR 112, HCR 25, HCR 96, HCR 27)


Related: America’s workers are the backbone of our economy.

1) American Psychological Association, Education and Socioeconomic Status,
2) Scientific American, Poverty Disturbs Children’s Brain Development and Academic Performance, July 22 2015,
3) New York Times, Dismal Voucher Results Surprise Researchers as DeVos Era Begins, Feb 13 2017,
Photo Credit: Anissa Thompson, Who’s Turn Is It,