Every American child deserves a high-quality education in a safe learning environment to ensure his or her future success.
The goal of public education is equal access for all children regardless of family income or zip code to a high-quality education. It is the cornerstone of a vibrant economy, informed civic engagement, and a well-functioning democracy. The United States has plenty of dedicated teachers, administrators, and students, but their efforts are betrayed by inadequate support. Rather than starving the system and allowing inequalities to persist, we should be strengthening our commitment to public education.
Opposing GOP Privatization Efforts and Strengthening Our Public Schools
Nevertheless, the GOP plan is to privatize our public education system. Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos and some Republican candidates in my district wish to privatize our public schools. The result will be a society which is less educated and more divided, creating a separation of the haves and the have-nots. As a product of public education like my wife and children, I am squarely opposed to moves toward privatization. Charter schools should follow the same rules as public schools and be regulated by the public school district. I am against school vouchers and will block any attempts to institute a system of Education Savings Accounts (ESAs).
Not only should we not turn our children's education over to the market, we should be doing much more. There are many things that we can do to improve conditions for teachers, parents, and children to better serve our communities such as reducing class sizes, expanding Head Start, subsidizing meals, supporting after-school and summer programs, getting away from high-stakes testing, attracting more qualified teachers and rewarding them with better pay, and giving the teachers the tools and supplies they need in the classroom.
Developing a New Education Paradigm
Unfortunately, the current education paradigm is leaving too many of our children unprepared for college or their post-high school careers. It’s not enough anymore to just say, “I support teachers and increased spending in the classroom.” Or, “I support the expansion of Head Start.” I believe we need to fundamentally rethink the way we nurture and educate our children. It’s time we develop a comprehensive plan that guides children from pre-K to high school to college or trade school.
At the very least, we should start by instituting universal pre-K, offering new forms of vocational training, and making high-quality higher education affordable, which includes resisting the proliferation of predatory private universities.
Making College Affordable and Solving the Student Debt Problem
Americans should be able to attend college or trade school without being chained to a lifetime of student debt. We must pursue solutions to the crushing student debt problem such as loan forgiveness, lower interest rates on student loans, and free community college and public universities.
I am a strong champion of our public education system and fervently oppose any effort to privatize it.
We can strengthen public schools with better funding; our dedicated teachers deserve better pay and improved conditions such as smaller class sizes to better serve the children in our community.
Americans should be able to attend college or trade school without being chained to a lifetime of student debt. I advocate making public higher education affordable to all income groups and fixing our nation’s for-profit student loan system.