Every child—regardless of their race, gender, or religion—deserves high-quality education. It’s not enough to just maintain the status quo. We must come together and invest in our schools to close the opportunity gaps our children are facing. We must also ensure college and technical schools are an attainable goal in order to grow and retain the 21st-century workforce we need.

Inadequate funding hurts K-12 schools and creates barriers to academic success for Minnesota’s students. To succeed, students need quality teachers in their classrooms. We must increase our investment in education to encourage young people’s intellectual and emotional growth, retain quality teachers, and enable more people of color to become Minnesota teachers.

Higher education funding has been short-changed. Instead of adequately funding higher education, our higher education institutions have been forced to cut corners, close programs, and lay off the people who make our education system the envy of the nation.

Cuts to college funding coupled with an unfunded tuition cap could mean elimination of entire programs, massive faculty and staff layoffs, and will begin in earnest discussions of closing campuses. Mandates without additional investment will result in fewer counselors, tutors, advisors, and financial aid staff—the people hired to help students succeed.

State law says that the legislature should provide at least 67% of the revenue for higher education costs. Because of disinvestment, the state currently provides about one-third of the revenue needed. This has contributed to the student debt crisis, not only hurting education but having lasting negative impacts on the economy. We must fund higher education to invest in our economy, our culture, and our future.