If one does not have the skills to provide a living for themselves or their family, if one does not have the knowledge to progress forward in their life, if one does not have the tools to achieve their dreams – then one can never truly be free.
We should invest in our children’s future by offering a Free Undergraduate Tuition option for attendance at public universities. This free-tuition option would extend to students who decide to enroll in career-ready schools (also known as vocational or technical schools) instead of attending college. The government should also invest in both people and the economy by subsidizing career-ready programs in the private sector to help bridge the skills gap. By encouraging businesses, labor unions, and schools to collaborate in the development of career-ready programs, millions more Americans will have the opportunity to learn the skills that match job openings in our evolving economy. The subsequent economic growth will more than pay for this investment in our future.
We also must address our current Student-Loan Debt crisis. Too many young Americans are saddled with enormous debt upon graduating from universities. This debt forces many to find the highest paying jobs in the private sector instead of considering public-service or non-profit work in underserved communities. The government should address this problem of equality and opportunity by forgiving the student loans of recent graduates who bring their new skills to communities in the greatest need.
Interest rates are too high on student loans, with private banking corporations reaping the profits. It’s a shame that educating our population has become a for-profit industry for several banking corporations. Recognizing education as an investment in our future, the federal government should subsidize all student loans so that no interest accrues while students attend universities. The government should also reduce the nominal interest rates on these loans so that they're the equivalent of the inflation rate, effectively instituting a real interest rate of 0%.
We must continue funding Public Education, improve access to high quality Pre-K Schools, and Support Our Teachers. Let’s face the facts: we need to pay teachers more, we need to bring in more talent, we need to help our school districts thrive. Although federal funds only account for 8% of the overall financing of primary and secondary schools, this money is vital for communities where there aren’t enough state and local funds. Under Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education is trying to take this money away from public education. This is a grave error. If a student wishes to go to a private school they may, but not to the detriment of all public schools.