My children attend public schools. They have been cared for by some truly special human beings and have been enriched by programs and protections that contribute to their well being, by right. We have been lucky. The goal of our society should not be to count some as “lucky” but to ensure that all benefit from such equity. This is what I will fight for as your representative.
Investment in education from the Federal Government is woefully inadequate. Title 1 funding provides only 10%, on average, of funds to K-12. Our country is currently in an educational crisis. Americans lack adequate skills to compete for the jobs of the future. The higher paying jobs, in our country, are more frequently filled by workers with H1B visas. To combat this, we must reassess our commitment to funding education for K-12 and increase the distribution of funds under Title 1.
As part of this, I would advise additional funding for schools that expand elective programs in ways that provide pipelines to careers in growth industries. More coding, more engineering, more introductory finance…. If we give students the opportunity to hit the ground running with entry level skills, the opportunities for networking and tuition reimbursement expand.
In this effort, we must also push for a commitment to better prepare our students for post-primary education. More opportunities for college credit courses in K-12. We must allow our young people every advantage possible to reduce student debt. This effort should include the expanded accreditation of community colleges and the development of satellite education centers using existing infrastructure. If we are to create a society that truly values education, then no-cost/low-cost higher education paradigms must be established and grown.
Finally, I support programs that would offer Student Loan Debt relief, to break the cycle of oppressive debt that actually stifles our economic and social growth.
Student loan debt accounts for $1.4 trillion and represents the largest percentage of non-housing debt in the United States. Any responsible fiscal policy, going forward, must address the debt crisis specific to the cost of higher education. It is a unique issue facing this generation very specifically. Per the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of education for all four year institutions comes to roughly $105K. Thirty years ago, that same education would have cost $27K. Tuition costs are increasing 8 times as fast as wages, according to Forbes magazine.
This student debt crisis is not the result of rampant irresponsibility. It is the result of our country’s stagnant wage growth and a failure to provide adequate education options.
Doing nothing hurts our economy by limiting cash flow, reducing disposable income, delaying home purchases and creating an increasing probability of default. During the last big crisis, Congress bailed out Wall Street to the tune of $475 billion, reduced from $700B (Per ProPublica the actual outflow has been somewhere around $633B). When considering this, the question that arises is: “Why don’t we provide relief to our citizens?”
In truth, the last bailout resulted in a profit for the government. By getting Americans spending again, not just paying debt, we would see a stimulus across the board that will benefit the country as a whole. A forgiveness of student debt, to some degree, just makes sense.