I believe that a strong and well funded public school system is an important engine of social mobility and a means for ending the troubling trend of inequality in America. Funding cuts for public schools since the recession of 2008-09 have hurt our students and our teachers. I’m committed to fighting for a strong public school system that will benefit all Americans.
As a starting point, I oppose any schemes to privatize our public schools by setting up a voucher or charter schools scheme. We shouldn’t divert money from public schools to private schools.
I’m also troubled by the appointment and confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. She is wholly unqualified for this post and only received it because her family has donated something in the neighborhood of $200 million to the GOP over the years. Moreover, her school privatization plan hurt Michigan’s public schools and students. We don’t want to replicate that failed experiment on the national level.
It’s not enough to just tell you what I oppose – I also need to tell you what I support.
I do support the various teacher strikes in some of the Red States. Adjusted for inflation, teacher salaries in some of these state have stagnated or even declined since 2008. Ill considered tax cut schemes for the wealthy in some of these states have starved teacher pay and funding for public schools. Our teachers deserve a raise.
Along the same lines, I support the right of teachers to collectively bargain. Our teachers can only be assured of a fair salary commensurate with their responsibilities and educational background if they can bargain fairly over their compensation packages. I support reforming our labor laws to make it easier for Americans to form up and maintain unions in the teeth of opposition from management.
In addition to raising teacher pay, we need to rebuild our schools. In some parts of the country, school buildings are in a state of disrepair – which makes it more difficult for students to learn. As part of my infrastructure investment program, I would set aside money to repair and maintain our school buildings. No child should be required to learn in a building that is falling apart.
We need to begin the educational process before our children actually attend school. That’s why I support universal Pre-K and the expansion of Head Start. Studies demonstrate that Pre-K and Head Start make it more likely that our children will succeed in school, graduate and hold a good job.
My platform is aimed at strengthening the middle class. The best way to build a strong and stable economy for all Americans is to prioritize the middle class. If our middle class has more money to spend and more consumer confidence. everybody wins. As President John F. Kennedy said: “A rising tide lifts all boats. “