REVITALIZING OUR COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC EDUCATION

In a world of rapid technological advances and global competition, America MUST rededicate itself to a public education system that is accessible to all and nurtures the vast talent and ingenuity of our youth.   Our public school system should be upgraded to address the needs of a modern economy, and to reward curiosity and learning rather than mere test-taking ability. The foundation of our public school system is the legion of educators and administrators who serve our kids every day, and who deserve to be paid and respected as the professionals they truly are.  I support a significant increase in faculty/staff compensation to ensure that those who educate our kids can live decent lives themselves.

Every American child has the right to attend a school that is safe, well-provisioned, in good repair and conducive to learning.  In Congress, I will advocate for laws that guarantee the equitable distribution of resources to ensure that every child is given the opportunity to compete and succeed. Public charter schools must be held to the same standards applicable to public schools, and facilities that are paid for by the taxpayers should remain in taxpayer control.  In general, I oppose privatizing our public schools. Privatization not only drives down teacher wages and impedes collective bargaining rights, but all too often it results in the re-segregation of schools along race and class lines.

Our university system is second to none in the world in terms of academic excellence and diversity of school options.  For too many Americans, a college education is cost prohibitive. I strongly support an expansion of the PELL Grant program so that kids from lower and middle-income households can afford to go to college and stay in school until they graduate. I am also in favor of a “National Service” program, in which the college or trade school education of a student will be paid if they choose to serve the country in an area of critical need for the first 4-6 years of their career. Service to country is something to be encouraged, and investment in people who are willing to do so makes both economic and moral sense.  And for those who have already graduated and are pursuing public interest careers, their student loan debt should be forgiven after a reasonable period of public service. It does not make sense that a young person should be forced to take on massive debt in order to hone his/her skills or launch a career. The crippling debt faced by so many recent grads impedes their ability to buy homes and otherwise fully participate in our economy. Doing better for our kids not only helps them succeed, it benefits the overall economy.

Pam: On the Issues

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