The vigorous contest of
Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent
policy proposals to address major issues. In a recent poll, Americans have
indicated that education is a top issue. Senator Amy Klobuchar released her “Many Paths to Success”
Post-Secondary Education Plan.
This is from the Klobuchar campaign:
Senator Klobuchar believes there are many paths to success. Her grandpa worked
1,500 feet underground in the mines, never graduated from high school, and
saved money in a coffee can in the basement to send her dad to community
college. Her sister didn’t graduate from high school, worked in manufacturing
in Iowa, got her GED, went to community college and eventually got a four-year
Today many of the fastest growing occupations require one- and two-year
degrees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be 74,000 job
openings for electricians over the next 10 years, 68,200 openings for plumbers,
and over 137,000 openings for nurses’ assistants. Senator Klobuchar believes we
must do more to connect people to an affordable education for the jobs we have
available today and tomorrow.
That’s why as President, Senator Klobuchar will focus on championing
tuition-free one- and two-year community college degrees and technical
certifications, expanding apprenticeship opportunities, respecting the dignity
of work by paying people a decent living wage so they can care for and support
their families, as well as making it easier for Americans who need help to
afford four year degrees.
As part of her Post-Secondary Education Plan, Senator Klobuchar
Provide Tuition Free One- and Two-Year Community College Degrees and
Technical Certifications, Promote Apprenticeships, and Respect the Dignity of
● Provide tuition-free community college and technical
certifications. Today many of the fastest growing occupations require one-
and two-year degrees. As President, Senator Klobuchar will create a new
federal-state partnership to provide tuition-free community college one- and
two-year degrees, technical certifications and industry-recognized credentials.
The federal government will match $3 for every $1 invested by the state for
students who qualify for in-state tuition, are enrolled at least half-time, and
maintain satisfactory academic progress. When certain economic indicators show
a state has increased financial need, the federal share of the match will
increase. To qualify for the federal funding, states will also be required to
maintain their spending on higher education, limit the rate of tuition
increases and ensure that students can easily transfer their credits to
four-year programs. This proposal is based on Senator Baldwin’s America’s
College Promise Act and an Obama Administration proposal.
● Connecting students to jobs and ensuring the
dignity of work. It is not enough to provide students and workers with an
affordable education, we must also connect students to job openings and ensure
the dignity of work for the jobs that are available today. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will invest in our workers so that everyone who works hard
can earn enough to care for and support their family. That means raising the
minimum wage, providing child care, and paid family leave and making sure
people have a secure retirement. She will also work with high schools,
community colleges, universities, businesses, labor unions, trade associations
and job training centers to provide information to students earlier in their
education about the availability and outlook for jobs in different careers,
their expected earning potential, and the necessary educational
● Invest in apprenticeships. Apprenticeships combine
academic instruction with on-the-job training to give students the skills they
need to succeed while helping employers create a source of qualified workers.
Senator Klobuchar will direct her Secretary of Labor to analyze the use of
apprenticeships for In-Demand occupations, launch a nationwide campaign, and
expand apprenticeship opportunities and benefits with the goal of doubling the
number of apprenticeships to over a million by the end of her first term. She
will also work to pass the American Apprenticeship Act, a
bipartisan bill she leads in the Senate that would help states create and expand
tuition assistance programs for students in pre-apprenticeship and Registered
● Improve tax incentives for retraining and
post-secondary education. Tax credits help make college more affordable for
many families, but too often they are not designed to help non-traditional
students. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to pass bills she currently
leads in the Senate to allow older students and workers to use tax-advantaged
“529” savings accounts for recognized post-secondary credentials and
occupational licenses. As President, she will also pass bipartisan legislation
she leads in the Senate to remove age-based contribution restrictions for
Coverdell education accounts, allowing the accounts to be used for a broader
range of career and technical education costs. Both tax incentives would apply
to older students and workers pursuing retraining opportunities.
● Adapt high school curricula to improve workforce
readiness and post-secondary success and expand opportunities for dual
enrollment. As part of her previously announced Progress Partnerships for
K-12 education, Senator Klobuchar will create incentives for state education
departments to evaluate and improve student career readiness, including
coursework, curriculum and other policies that prepare students for the jobs
available in today’s workforce. As President, Senator Klobuchar will also help
school districts cover the tuition expenses of high schoolers enrolled in
community colleges, apprenticeships, technical certifications, and universities
through dual enrollment programs.
Lower the Cost of College and Reduce the Burden of Student
● Double the maximum Pell Grant and expand
eligibility to families making up to $100,000 per year. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will double the maximum Pell Grant — which, unlike loans, do
not have to be repaid — to $12,000 per year and expand eligibility to families
making up to $100,000 per year. She will also index Pell Grant levels to
● Provide financial support beyond tuition. For
many college students, non-tuition expenses can present a significant hurdle to
completing their education. In addition to expanding Pell Grants, which can be
used for certain non-tuition expenses, Senator Klobuchar will work with states to
establish microgrant programs to help students with necessary expenses if they
face unexpected financial hardship. In addition, she will expand categorical
eligibility for SNAP benefits for low-income students and support pilot
projects to increase the availability of federal housing assistance to
● Simplify the financial aid process. The
income verification process for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA) can be a significant barrier for low-income students. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will work to improve coordination between the IRS and
Department of Education to streamline income verification. She will also allow
previous year tax forms to be used to avoid complications from income
● Fix the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program
and expand it to cover In-Demand occupations. Loan forgiveness can be
a powerful tool to help encourage recent graduates and current students to
enter public service, but the current Public Service Loan Forgiveness program
is broken. As President, Senator Klobuchar will completely overhaul the Public
Service Loan Forgiveness program to require lenders to provide better
information to borrowers about their eligibility and progress toward
forgiveness, allow borrowers more flexibility to meet the program requirements,
and streamline reporting and verification requirements. She will also expand
the loan forgiveness program to borrowers who work in In-Demand occupations so
we can match students with the job openings of today and tomorrow. Under the
In-Demand occupation loan forgiveness program, any remaining balance on
undergraduate federal student loans would be forgiven after 10 years of
payments through an income-driven repayment plan.
● Allow borrowers to refinance their student loans to
lower rates. Senator Klobuchar believes that if billionaires can
refinance their yachts, students should be able to refinance their student
loans. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work with Congress to pass
legislation that allows students and parents with existing federal and private
student loans for undergraduate and graduate programs to refinance their loans
at lower rates.
● Protect student borrowers and increasing financial
literacy. Too many students have been taken advantage of by
unscrupulous private lenders. As President, Senator Klobuchar will restore and
strengthen rules that allow students who believe they were defrauded by their
colleges to apply for loan forgiveness, providing relief to thousands of
additional students. She will also establish best practices for student
financial literacy and require schools to notify student borrowers of their
total loan obligations, estimated interest rate, and expected monthly payment.
This proposal is modeled after the bipartisan Empowering Student Borrowers
Act, which Senator Klobuchar has co-sponsored in the Senate.
Support Multiple Paths to Success and Invest in Retraining
● Establish a Worker Training Tax Credit. Today
businesses are investing less in workforce training, particularly when it comes
to lower wage workers who are most at risk of losing their jobs to automation
and other emerging technologies. As President, Senator Klobuchar would create a
new tax credit for employers that invest in training for workers at risk of
being laid off through on-site training programs or provide paid time off for
off-site retraining. To qualify for the tax credit, training would have to lead
to an industry-recognized credential, certificate, or degree.
● Invest in adult basic education. In her
first 100 days as President, Senator Klobuchar will reverse President Trump’s
proposal to cut basic education programs for adults, and launch an initiative
focused on increasing opportunities for adults to master literacy and basic
● Promote stackable credentials. Stackable
credentials are certifications or occupational licenses that can be combined
with additional coursework that will then lead to an associates degree. As
President, Senator Klobuchar will encourage states to work with employers,
unions, trade associations, and community colleges to develop stackable
credentials for In-Demand fields that provide meaningful employment skills
while building towards a degree.
● Expand accountable skills-based education.
Senator Klobuchar supports finding ways to give students credit for the skills
and knowledge they have from previous jobs or military experience. As a
Senator, her legislation was signed into law to make it easier for veterans
with training to become paramedics and law enforcement officers. As President,
Senator Klobuchar will initiate a grant program for skills-based education with
strong accountability and transparency standards to make it easier for students
to receive credit for skills and knowledge they’ve already acquired.
● Give students returning to school later in life a
fair shot. Students should be able to pursue post-secondary
opportunities later in life. Senator Klobuchar will allow students who are
returning to post-secondary education to requalify for Pell Grants by resetting
their Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and to receive additional Pell
Grants even if they have reached the Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU). She will
also restore Pell Grant eligibility for incarcerated students.
● Improve GED programs. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to improve GED programs by linking them to career skills and community college curricula while increasing students’ chances of success through wraparound support services.
Provide All Students Opportunities for Success
● Increase STEM education including for women and
underrepresented minorities. As co-chair of the Diversify Tech Caucus and
Women’s High Tech Coalition, Senator Klobuchar has been a leader in expanding
STEM education including for women and underrepresented minorities. As Senator,
she successfully passed multiple bills to promote STEM-focused programs at
schools, improve the representation of underrepresented groups on the National
Science Foundation’s Advisory Panel, improve retention of minority STEM
teachers, strengthen NASA’s STEM outreach, and help the National Science
Foundation assist female entrepreneurs. As President, Senator Klobuchar will
continue to promote STEM education including computer science and data literacy.
● Strengthen and increase affordability for
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving
Institutions (MSIs). As President Senator Klobuchar will invest in HBCUs
and MSIs through a new Pathways to Student Success initiative. Participating
HBCUs and MSIs will receive federal funding to waive or significantly reduce
the first two years of tuition for low-income students at four-year
● Expand and fully support TRIO and GEAR UP. The
TRIO and GEAR UP programs help low-income, first-generation college students,
and students with disabilities, veterans, homeless youth, foster youth, and
individuals underrepresented in graduate education prepare for and succeed in
higher education. The Trump Administration has attempted to cut funding for
these programs, but as President, Senator Klobuchar will expand these programs
and ensure that they are fully funded.
● Ensure veterans have access to the educational
opportunities they have earned. Senator Klobuchar has been a champion
for expanding and modernizing education benefits for our servicemembers. As
President, she will push to reduce the burden of student debt on servicemembers
by lowering or eliminating the accrual of interest on student loans during
their service. She will also ensure that members of the National Guard and
Reserve receive the same GI Bill education benefits as their counterparts in
active duty and adjust tuition assistance for members of the National Guard and
Reserve to keep the tuition assistance competitive. And to support veterans on
college campuses and expand career counseling, Senator Klobuchar will launch
and implement a grant program to invest in college veteran education
● Remove barriers to education for homeless and
foster youth. During her first 100 days as President, Senator
Klobuchar will direct her Secretary of Education to remove barriers to higher
education for homeless and foster youth, including by ensuring grant programs
identify, recruit and prepare homeless and foster students for post-secondary
● Invest in Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). As
President, Senator Klobuchar will work to ensure that Tribal Colleges and
Universities are fully funded and that TCUs, Alaska Native-serving
institutions, Native Hawaiian-serving institutions and Native American-serving
nontribal institutions will be eligible for the Pathways to Student Success
initiative. She will also build on her work to provide resources for tribal
schools so that they can prepare students to be career and college ready.
● Support students with disabilities. Senator
Klobuchar is committed to accessible education for people of differing
abilities. That includes making sure that education facilities accommodate
people with disabilities, educators have the training and resources to
effectively teach students with learning and other disabilities, and schools
provide supportive resources for students with disabilities.
● Support student parents. Students who
have children are more likely to drop out of their educational programs without
completing them. As President, Senator Klobuchar will expand the Child Care
Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) Program, which provides on-campus
child care services. She will also expand the eligibility for the Child and
Dependent Care Tax Credit to cover child care expenses while parents pursue
postsecondary education and make financial aid calculations fairer for student
To pay for these investments, Senator Klobuchar will raise the capital
gains and dividends rate for people in the top two income tax brackets, limit
the amount of capital gain deferral allowable through like-kind exchanges, and
implement the Buffet Rule through a 30 percent minimum tax for people with
incomes over $1 million.
The vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. In a recent poll, Americans have indicated that education is a top issue. Senator Elizabeth Warren released her plan to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in public schools, paid for by a 2c wealth tax on fortunes above $50 million. “It’s time to live up to the promise of a high-quality public education for every student. My plan makes big, structural changes that would help give every student the resources they need to thrive.” This is from the Warren campaign:
Charlestown, MA – Senator Elizabeth Warren
released her plan to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in our public
schools — paid for by a two-cent wealth tax on fortunes above $50 million —
and make a series of legislative and administrative changes to ensure a great
public school education for every student.
Her plan has five objectives:
Fund schools adequately and equitably: Invest
hundreds of billions of dollars in pre-K-12 public education, paid for by her
wealth tax — including quadrupling Title I funding, fully funding the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, investing an additional $50 billion
in repairing and upgrading school buildings, and offering schools $100 billion
in Excellence Grants to invest in options that schools and districts identify
to help their students. A Warren Administration will also set the goal of
turning 25,000 public schools into true community schools. She will condition
the new Title I money on states chipping in more funding and adopting and
implementing more progressive funding formulas, so that more resources go to
the schools and students that really need them. She will also improve the way
the federal government allocates this new Title I funding.
Renew the fight against segregation and discrimination in
our schools: She will attack residential segregation in a variety of
ways, strengthen Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by expanding the private
right of action under Title VI to cover claims of disparate impact against
states and school districts, revive the Department of Education’s Office for
Civil Rights, apply particular scrutiny to breakway districts, and commit to
enforcing the civil rights of all students.
Provide a warm, safe, and nurturing school climate for
all our kids: She will cancel student breakfast and lunch debt and
provide free and nutritious school meals, eliminate high stakes testing, end zero
tolerance discipline policies, implement and expand Social Emotional Learning,
and address chronic absenteeism.
Treat teachers and staff like the professionals they are: She
will address not just teacher pay, but other important issues including strengthening
bargaining power, cancelling student loan debt, diversifying the teacher
pipeline, and funding professional development.
Stop the privatization and corruption of our public
education system: She will ensure public dollars are not diverted from
traditional public schools, end all federal funding for creating new charter
schools, and push to ensure that existing charter schools are subject to at
least the same level of transparency and accountability as traditional public
schools. She also supports banning for-profit charters, and will direct the IRS
to investigate so-called nonprofit schools that are violating the statutory
requirements for nonprofits, and will ban the storing and selling of student
I attended public school growing up in Oklahoma. After I
graduated from the University of Houston, a public university where tuition
cost only $50 a semester, my first job was as a special education teacher at a
public school in New Jersey. I later attended a public law school.
I believe in America’s public schools. And I believe
that every kid in America should have the same access to a high-quality
public education — no matter where they live, the color of their skin, or how
much money their parents make.
We’re not living up to that promise. Funding for public K-12
education is both inadequate and inequitable. I’ve long been concerned about
the way that school systems rely heavily on local property taxes, shortchanging
students in low-income areas and condemning communities caught in a spiral of
decreasing property values and declining schools. Despite a national expectation
of progress, public schools are more segregated today than they were thirty
years ago, and the link between school funding and property values perpetuates
the effects of ongoing housing discrimination and racist housing policies, like
redlining, that restricted homeownership and home values for Black
We ask so much of our public school teachers,
paraprofessionals, and school staff. But instead of treating them like
professionals — paying them well, listening to them, and giving them the
support they need — we impose extreme accountability measures that punish them
for factors they cannot possibly control. We divert public dollars from
traditional public schools that need them, leave our students vulnerable to
exploitative companies that prey on schools’ limited resources for profit, and
allow corruption to undermine the quality of education that our students
And each of these trends has gotten worse under Betsy DeVos
— a Secretary of Education who thinks traditional public schools are a “dead end.”
We can do so much better for our students, our teachers, and
our communities. I’ll start – as I promised in May
– by replacing DeVos with a Secretary of Education who has been a public school
teacher, believes in public education, and will listen to our public school
teachers, parents, and students.
But that’s just the beginning. As public school teachers
across the country know, our schools do not have the financial resources they
need to deliver a quality public education for every child. That’s why my plan
invests hundreds of billions of dollars in our public schools — paid for by a
two-cent wealth tax on fortunes above $50 million — and makes a series of
legislative and administrative changes to achieve five objectives:
Fund schools adequately and equitably so that all
students have access to a great public education.
Renew the fight against segregation and discrimination in
Provide a warm, safe, and nurturing school climate for
all our kids.
Treat teachers and staff like the professionals they are.
Stop the privatization and corruption of our public
What would this plan mean for America’s families? Parents
wouldn’t have to bust their budgets to live in certain exclusive neighborhoods
just to ensure that their children get a good education. Parents of children
with disabilities wouldn’t have to fight every day so their children get the
services they’re entitled to and that they need. Public school teachers and
staff would have more financial security and more freedom to use their
expertise to teach their students. And every student would have the chance to
go to a safe, enriching public school from pre-K to high school.
Funding Schools Adequately and Equitably
All students should have the resources they need to get a
great public education. That’s not happening today. The data show that more school
funding significantly improves student achievement, particularly for students from low-income
backgrounds. Yet our current approach to school funding at the
federal, state, and local level underfunds our schools and results in many
students from low-income backgrounds receiving less funding than
other students on a per-student basis. My plan makes a historic new federal
investment in public schools — and pushes both the federal government and
state governments to dedicate more resources to the schools and students that
need them most.
State and local funds make up about 90% of total K-12
education funding. The federal government provides roughly the remaining 10% of K-12
funding, primarily through Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act of 1965.
Both sets of investments have serious shortcomings. On the
state side, even when states provide substantial supplemental funding for
high-need communities, reliance on local property tax revenue means wealthier
communities are often still able to spend more money on their public schools
than poorer communities. As of 2015, only 11 states used a
progressive funding formula — one that dedicates more money per-student to
high-poverty school districts. The remaining states use a funding formula that
is either basically flat per-student or dedicates less money per-student to
high-poverty districts. In a handful of states, students in high-poverty
districts get less than 75 cents for
every dollar that students in wealthier school districts get.
There are problems with federal funding too. The Elementary
and Secondary Education Act is a civil rights law Congress enacted to provide
supplemental support for students from low-income backgrounds or those who need
extra support, like English Language Learners and students who are homeless or
in foster care. Almost every school
district and 70% of
schools receive some Title
I money, but the current investment in Title I — $15.8 billion — is
not nearly enough to make up for state-level funding inequities. And Title I
funding itself is distributed based on a formula that isn’t always efficiently targeted
to ensure adequate support for the schools and students who need it most.
Our flawed approach to K-12 funding isn’t just producing
disparities in education between poor and rich students. It’s also helping
produce disparities in education based on race. Black and Latinx students
are disproportionately likely to
attend chronically under-resourced schools. Bureau of Indian Education schools
are badly underfunded too.
My plan addresses each and every aspect of this
problem. It starts by quadrupling Title I funding — an additional $450
billion over the next 10 years — to help ensure that all children get a
high-quality public education.
But we need to do more than just increase funding. We also
need to ensure that federal funds are reaching the students and schools that
need it most. That’s why I’m committed to working with public education
leaders and school finance experts to improve the way the federal government
allocates this new Title I funding. And I would impose transparency
requirements on this new funding so that we can understand what investments
work best and adapt our approach accordingly.
I’m also committed to using this new federal investment to
press states to adopt better funding approaches themselves. I would
condition access to this additional Title I funding on states chipping in more
funding, adopting more progressive funding formulas, and actually allocating
funding consistently with these new formulas. This would ensure that
both the federal government and state governments do their part to
progressively and equitably fund public schools while still ensuring that no
child gets less per-student funding than they do today.
My plan also lives up to our collective commitments to
students with disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
protects the civil rights of students with disabilities by guaranteeing their
right to a free and appropriate public education. When Congress passed the
original version of IDEA in 1975, it promised to cover
40% of the additional costs of educating students with disabilities.
But today, Congress is failing spectacularly in meeting that
obligation. Last year, the federal government covered less than 15% of
these costs. That failure has shifted the burden to states and school districts
that simply can’t find the money to make up the difference. The result?
Students with disabilities are denied the resources they need
to fulfill their potential.
This will end under my administration. I’ll make
good on the federal government’s original 40% funding promise by committing an additional
$20 billion a year to IDEA grants. I will also expand IDEA funding for
3-5 year olds and for early intervention services for toddlers and infants.
In addition to ensuring that all students have the resources
they need for a high-quality public education, I’ll give schools the chance to
invest in programs and resources that they believe are most important to their
students. That’s why my plan will invest an additional $100 billion
over ten years in “Excellence Grants” to any public school. That’s the
equivalent of $1 million for every public school in the country to invest in
options that schools and districts identify to help their students. These funds
can be used to develop state-of-the art labs, restore afterschool arts
programs, implement school-based student mentoring programs, and more. I’ll
work with schools and school leaders to develop the best way to structure these
grants to meet their needs.
Those funds can also be invested in developing sustainable community schools —
and the Warren Administration will have the goal of helping 25,000
public schools transition to the community school framework by 2030. Community
schools are hubs of their
community. Through school coordinators, they connect students and families with
community partners to provide opportunities, support, and services inside and
outside of the school. These schools centeraround wraparound
services, family and community engagement, afterschool programs and expanded
learning time, and collaborative leadership structures.
Studies show that every
dollar invested in community schools generates up to $15 in economic return to
Finally, my plan will provide a surge of investment in
school facilities and infrastructure. About 50 million students
and 6 million adults spend their weekdays in public school buildings. Too many of
these schools are dealing with leaky roofs, broken heating systems, lead pipes,
black mold, and other serious infrastructure issues. According to the most
recent data, more than half of
our public schools need repairs to be in “good” condition. Our poor school
infrastructure has serious effects on
the health and academic outcomes of students and on the well-being of teachers
The vastly unequal state of public school facilities is
unacceptable and a threat to public education itself. We cannot legitimately
call our schools “public” when some students have state-of-the-art classrooms
and others do not even have consistent running water. The federal government
must step in.
That’s why, as President, I’ll invest at least an
additional $50 billion in school infrastructure across the country — targeted
at the schools that need it most — on top of existing funding for school
upgrades and improvements in my other plans. For example, my Clean Energy Plan for America commits
billions of dollars to retrofit and upgrade buildings to increase energy
efficiency and to invest in zero-emission school buses. My housing plan commits
$10 billion in competitive grants that communities can use for school repairs.
My Environmental Justice plan establishes
a lead abatement grant program focused on schools. My Plan to Invest in Rural America commits
to universal broadband so that every student in this country can access the
Internet at school. And I will fully fund Bureau
of Indian Education schools to support major construction and repair
Renewing the Fight Against Segregation and Discrimination
in Public Schools
While Donald Trump tries to divide us and pit people of
different races and backgrounds against each other, Americans know that we are
stronger because of our differences. As my dear friend Congressman Elijah
Cummings said earlier this
year before his passing, “America has always been at its best when we
understand that diversity is our promise — not our problem.” Integrated
communities and integrated schools help create a society built on mutual
respect and understanding.
But broad public affirmation of the Brown v. Board
of Education decisions in the 1950s and recent debates about
historical desegregation policies have obscured an uncomfortable truth — our
public schools are moresegregated today
than they were about thirty years ago.
We made only fitful progress towards integration in the
years immediately after the Brown v. Board decisions. But by
the mid-1980s, thanks to dedicated advocacy by civil rights leaders and
sustained investment and oversight by the federal government, school
segregation had declined.
Then we reversed course. The Supreme Court scaled back the
courts’ remedial tools to address segregation, which — as I called out at the
time as a law student — entrenched segregation, particularly in Northern urban
schools. To make matters worse, the Nixon and Reagan Administrations slashed investments
in integration efforts and loosened federal oversight, setting us on a path
towards heightened segregation. Over the same period, segregation of Latinx
students entrenched even
Integrated schools improve educational outcomes for
students of all races. And
integrated schools are demanded by our Constitution’s guarantee of equal
protection to every person in this country. In a Warren Administration, we will
achieve this goal.
The first step toward integrating our schools is integrating
our communities. Today in America, residential communities are highly
segregated. Some believe that’s purely a result of people choosing to live
close to other people who look like them. That’s wrong. Modern residential
segregation is driven at least in part by income inequality and parents
seeking out the best possible school districts for their children.
By investing more money in our public schools — and helping ensure that every
public school is a great one — my plan will address one of the key drivers of
Beyond that, my Housing Plan for America establishes
a $10 billion competitive grant program that offers states and cities money to
build parks, roads, and schools if they eliminate the kinds of restrictive
zoning laws that can further racial
segregation. And it includes a historic new down payment assistance program
that promotes integration by giving residents of formerly redlined areas help
to buy a home in any community they choose.
My plan would also use federal education funding to
encourage states to further integrate their schools. Under current law, states
may use a portion of
Title I funds to implement evidence-based interventions for low-performing
schools. The data show that students at integrated schools perform better, so even
in the absence of congressional action, my administration can and will use
these provisions to encourage states to use that portion of Title I money on
integration efforts of their own design. All told, that will add up to
billions of dollars a year that states can use to promote residential and
public school integration, including through the use of public magnet schools. And
to ensure that school districts won’t have to choose between integration and
federal funding, my plan will guarantee that districts will retain access to
Title I funds even if their successful integration efforts cause the districts
to fall below current Title I funding thresholds.
Incentives to integrate communities and schools will
encourage many districts to do the right thing. But they won’t be sufficient
everywhere. That’s why I’m committed to strengthening Title VI of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 — which prohibits discrimination
on the basis of race in any program or activity that receives federal funding
— and reviving robust enforcement of its terms. Betsy DeVos and the
Trump Administration have pulled back on
civil rights enforcement, seemingly content to let states and districts use
billions of taxpayer dollars to entrench or exacerbate racial segregation in
schools. That ends under a Warren Administration. Here’s what we’ll do:
Strengthen Title VI: Under current Supreme Court precedent on
Title VI, the government can challenge any policy that disproportionately harms
students of color, but students and parents can only bring a claim under Title
VI for intentional discrimination. Students and parents should have the right
to challenge systemic discrimination that perpetuates school segregation,
so I will push to expand the private right of action under Title VI to
cover claims of disparate impact against states and school districts. I
will also fight to give the Justice Department — in coordination with the
relevant funding agency — direct enforcement authority to bring disparate
impact claims under Title VI, and to give DOJ the right to issue subpoenas and
civil investigative demands under Title VI to strengthen their investigative
Revive and fund the Department of Education’s Office for
Civil Rights (OCR): OCR is responsible for enforcing federal civil
rights laws in our public schools. Betsy DeVos rescinded dozens of
guidelines intended to prevent discrimination and limited OCR’s
capacity to give complaints the consideration they deserve. My administration
will restore and expand OCR’s capacity, reinstate and update the rules and
guidance revoked by DeVos, press for new protections for students, and give OCR
clear marching orders to root out discrimination wherever it is
Subject attempts to create “breakaway” districts to
additional enforcement scrutiny: Since 2000, there have been at
least 128 attempts to
break off a part of an existing school district into its own separate district.
These “breakaway” districts are often wealthier and whiter than
the district they leave behind and typically result in massive funding inequities
between the new district and the old one. Under my leadership, the Department
of Education and the Justice Department will subject any attempt to create a
breakaway district to careful scrutiny and bring appropriate Title VI
Improve federal data collection to support better
outcomes: Activists, academics, and legislators rely on the Department
of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection to better monitor and remedy what’s
broken in our public education system. But there’s a years-long lag in
the data collection process — and the data that are collected glosses over
crucial details. I will increase funding for CRDC so that we can expand the
types of data collected, provide data collection training on the district and
state level, and produce data more quickly.
I am also committed to ending discrimination against all
students. My administration will strictly enforce the right of students
with disabilities to a free and appropriate public education. I will
push to build on Obama-era policies by writing new rules to help ensure that
students of color with disabilities are treated fairly when it comes to
identifying disabilities, classroom placement, services and accommodations, and
discipline. I am opposed to the use of restraint and seclusion in schools, and
I will push for sufficient training to ensure student, teacher, and staff
safety. I will protect students’ right to be educated in the least restrictive
environment. And in light of the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School
District, which affirmed the right
of every child to have the chance to meet challenging objectives, my Department
of Education will help schools and districts develop and implement ambitious
individualized education programs for all students with disabilities. This
includes upholding the right to
a fair and appropriate public education for students in juvenile detention
facilities, who are disproportionately students
I will also fight to protect the rights of LGBTQ+
students. When Gavin Grimm took
his school district to court to defend the rights of transgender students, he
bravely stood for the many LGBTQ+ students facing harassment and discrimination
in our schools. Today, more than half of
LGBTQ+ students report feeling unsafe at school, and nearly a fifth have been
forced to switch schools. That’s why I will press to enact the Safe Schools Improvement Act,
which requires school districts to adopt codes of conduct that specifically
prohibit bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender
identity. I will also direct the Department of Education to reinstate
guidance revoked under Trump
about transgender students’ rights under Title IX, and make clear that federal
civil rights law prohibits anti-LGBTQ+ rules like discriminatory dress codes,
prohibiting students from writing or discussing LGBTQ+ topics in class, or
punishing students for bringing same-sex partners to school events. And I will
affirm and enforce federal protections under Title IX for all students who are survivors of sexual
harassment and assault.
I will commit to protecting English Language Learners. Our
public schools are home to nearly 5 million English
Language Learners — about 10% of the entire student population. In 1974, the
Supreme Court ruled that failing
to give English Language Learners meaningful instruction was a violation of
their civil rights. But, once again, the Department of Education is failing these
students under Betsy DeVos. As President, I will affirm and strengthen the Obama Administration’s 2015
guidelines on the civil rights of English Language Learners to
include meaningful access to rigorous coursework, teachers, special education
services, and integration with the rest of the student body, while fostering
their home language.
I will also commit to protecting immigrant students and
their families. Immigration makes America stronger — economically,
socially, and culturally. But because of the Trump Administration’s inhumane
immigration policies, many immigrant students are afraid to go to school,
and many families living in the shadows are afraid to access resources like free school lunch.
I would end the Trump’s Administration’s monstrous policies and enact immigration reform that
is fair, humane, and reflects our values. I will ensure immigrant students
don’t get second-class status by being directed into GED programs instead of
classrooms. I will protect sensitive locations like schools from
immigrant enforcement actions. And I’ll recommit OCR to upholding and enforcing Plyler
v. Doe — which the Trump administration has tried to
undermine — so that all immigrant children have access to a quality education,
no matter their native language, national origin, immigration status, or
Finally, I will nominate judges who look like America and
are committed to applying our civil rights laws. The courts often have
the final say on critical civil rights matters. Donald Trump has appointed judges
who are overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly male. During their confirmation
processes, dozens of his
appointees refused to state publicly that they would uphold Brown v.
Board of Education. I’m committed to appointing a diverse slate of judges,
including those who have a background in civil rights. And while it is shocking
to need to make this commitment, I will only appoint judges who will apply the
law as established in Brown v. Board of Education and other landmark
civil rights rulings.
Providing a Warm, Safe, and Nurturing School Climate for
All Our Kids
Every student deserves the opportunity to learn in a
traditional public school that’s welcoming and safe. Research shows that
students learn best when they have supportive and nurturing relationships with
teachers and administrators, and when learning is not just academic but social
and emotional too. With 46 million children
experiencing some form of trauma — whether it’s poverty, violence in the
community or in the home, homelessness, family separation, or an incarcerated
caretaker — we can’t expect schools to bear this burden alone.
In addition to my goal of turning 25,000 public schools into
true community schools, my plan will ensure the federal government plays its
part in trying to bring a positive and nurturing climate to every
Eliminate high-stakes testing: The push toward
high-stakes standardized testing has hurt both students and teachers. Schools
have eliminated critical
courses that are not subject to federally mandated testing, like social studies
and the arts. They can exclude students
who don’t perform well on tests. Teachers feel pressured to teach
to the test, rather than ensuring that students have a rich learning
I oppose high-stakes testing, and I co-sponsored successful legislation in
Congress to eliminate unnecessary and low-quality standardized tests. As
president, I’ll push to prohibit the use of standardized testing as a primary
or significant factor in closing a school, firing a teacher, or making any
other high-stakes decisions, and encourage schools to use authentic assessments
that allow students to demonstrate learning in multiple ways.
Cancel student breakfast and lunch debt and provide free
and nutritious school meals: No one should have to go into debt to get
a nutritious meal at school. I’ve already proposed expanding
the farm-to-school program one-hundred fold so that schools get access to
fresh, local, nutritious meals. I will also push to cancel all existing
student meal debt and increase federal funding to school meals programs so that
students everywhere get free breakfast and lunch. And to meaningfully
address student food insecurity and hunger, I will direct my Department of
Education to work with schools to look for ways to provide dinner, and meals
over weekends and
throughout long holidays, to students
who need it.
Invest in evidenced-based school safety: Despite
evidence that the militarization of our schools does not improve
school safety, the Trump Administration has doubled down
on militarization policies that only make students, teachers, and parents
feel less safe.
Enacting basic gun safety laws that
the overwhelming majority of Americans support is a critical step towards
improving school safety. But we need to take a different approach in
our schools, too — 14 million students
attend schools with police but no counselor, nurse, psychologist, or social
I will push to close the mental health provider gap in schools so that every
school has access to the staff necessary to support students. And if police
officers have to be in schools, they should receive training on discrimination,
youth development, and de-escalation tactics, and the contracts between
districts and law enforcement agencies should clearly define the
responsibilities and limitations of the officers and the rights of the
students. And no teacher should be armed — period.
End zero-tolerance discipline policies: Zero-tolerance
policies require out-of-school suspensions or expulsions on the first offense
for a variety of behaviors. These policies are ineffective, disproportionately hurt Black, Latinx, Native American,
and Southeast Asian and Pacific
Islander students, and can serve as the entry
point to the school-to-prison pipeline. My administration will
encourage schools to adopt discipline policies that draw students in rather
than pushing them out, including restorative justice programs, which
have been shown to dramatically reduce suspension
rates and the discipline gap between Black and White students. I will also push
to issue guidance to limit the use of discriminatory dress codes targeting
student dress and hairstyle that lead to students of color losing
valuable learning time and Muslim students being denied participation in
Establish more School-Based Health Centers: Students
do better when they
have access to good health care on site, but students from low-income
backgrounds are less likely to have
regular access to providers and preventative care. Students from rural
communities and students attending
Bureau of Indian Education schools also face significant barriers to health
care access. School-Based Health Centers have been shown to improve
grade promotion and decrease suspension rates and to increase the rates of
vaccination and detection of hearing and vision issues. I’ve committed
to establishing a $25 billion capital fund for
communities that are health professional shortage areas to improve access to
care through projects like constructing a School-Based Health Center or
expanding capacity or services at an existing clinic.
Expand the implementation of comprehensive, culturally
relevant curriculum and Social Emotional Learning: Rigorous,
culturally relevant, identity-affirming curriculum can increase attendance
and academic success of students. And Social Emotional Learning —
curriculum that focuses on empathy, responsible decision-making, and positive
relationships — has positive
effects too. Unfortunately, because of tight budgets, these subjects and
programs are often considered expendable. We should invest more in curricula
that engage all students across a wide array of subject areas like the arts,
STEM, civics, and health, including evidence-based inclusive sex ed. I’ll fight
to fully fund and target programs that conduct research in and support
well-rounded, culturally relevant education, some of which the Trump
administration has proposed eliminatingentirely. I’ve
already committed to
supporting programs to ensure that public school curriculum includes Native
American history and culture as a core component of all students’ education. In
addition to those programs, we should ensure that all the communities that make
up our public schools are reflected in school curricula. And I’ll require
states receiving these grants to provide the same well-rounded, culturally
relevant curriculum in alternative schools and juvenile detention
Provide better access to career and college readiness
(CCR): As President, I will enact legislation to make public two-year, four-year, and
technical colleges tuition-free for all students. We must also
ensure that students are able to take advantage of those opportunities and that
high schools are funded and designed to prepare students for careers, college,
and life. Students from low-income backgrounds are more likely than
their wealthier peers to graduate high school without having taken any CCR
coursework. Students with disabilities are also less likely to have
the opportunity to enroll in CCR courses. I’ve fought hard in Congress to make
sure high school students can access career and technical education without
paying out of pocket. I’ve also proposed dramatically
scaling up high-quality apprenticeship programs with a $20 billion investment
that will support partnerships between high schools, community colleges,
unions, and companies. I’ll work with the disability community to encourage
schools to begin the development of postsecondary transition plans, as required
by IDEA, earlier in a student’s school career. I’ll work with states to align high
school graduation requirements with their public college admission
requirements. And I’ll also direct the Department of Education to issue
guidance on how schools can leverage existing federal programs to facilitate
Address chronic absenteeism without punishing parents or
children: About 8 million students
missed at least three weeks of school during the 2015-2016 school year, with
Black and Latinx students more likely to be
chronically absent than their white and Asian peers. In younger grades,
students who are chronically absent are less likely to meet
state proficiency standards. In middle and high school, chronic absenteeism is
a predictor of whether a student drops out of school
before completing high school. I’m committed to
decriminalizing truancy and to working to decrease the rate of chronic
absenteeism through other means. My plan to invest in programs that promote
Social Emotional Learning, free school meals, and restorative justice would
help reduce chronic
absenteeism. I’ll also increase federal funding for pilot programs that
implement best practices in truancy reduction, like sending parents
easy-to-understand notices on the effects of chronic absenteeism, which has
been shown to improve attendance
Treating Public School Teachers and Staff Like the
Professionals They Are
Teachers, paraprofessionals, school staff, and school
leaders are the foundation of our public education system. But inadequate pay,
shrinking benefits, under-resourced classrooms, and dangerously high levels of
student debt are squeezing teachers and staff. We trust them to educate our
children, but we fail to treat them like the professionals they are.
Teachers have shown that they will stand together and fight
for what they believe in. They deserve a President who will fight for them too.
That’s why, as President, I will:
Provide funding for schools to increase pay and support
for all public school educators: Pay for our public school educators
is unacceptably low, and it’s putting incredible strain on them and causing
many to burn out and leave the profession. My plan to quadruple Title I funding
incentivizes states to shift their funding formulas to better support students
in critical ways, such as by increasing teacher pay with the goal of closing the educator pay gap and
also paying paraprofessionals and other education support professionals a living
wage. It also means additional funds to ensure that classrooms are
well-equipped with resources and supports so that teachers aren’t paying out of pocket.
Strengthen the ability of teachers, paraprofessionals,
and staff to organize and bargain for just compensation, for a voice in
education policy, and for greater investment in public education: One
of the best ways to raise teacher pay permanently and sustainably — and to
give teachers more voice in their schools — is to make it easier for teachers
to join a union, to bargain collectively, and to strike like educators did
across 14 states in
2018-2019. I have led the effort to
eliminate the ability of states to pass anti-union “right to work” laws, and I
will make enacting that change a top priority. And as part of my plan for empowering American
workers, I pledged to enact the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate
Act, which ensures that public employees like teachers can
organize and bargain collectively in each state, and authorizes voluntary
deduction of fees to support a union.
Ensure that anyone can become a teacher without drowning
in debt: A generation of educators is retiring, and our
country is facing a
looming teacher shortage. Our country’s student debt crisis hits teachers hard. Combined with
salaries that are far too low, that debt makes it difficult for many educators
to make ends meet and to continue teaching. Meanwhile, the debt forgiveness
programs that the government promised teachers for their years of service
turned out to be empty promises. My
college plan will wipe out debt for
most teachers and provide tuition-free public college so future teachers never
have to take on that debt in the first place. In addition, I will push states
to offer a pathway for teachers to become fully certified for free and to
invest in their educators and build teacher retention plans. I will increase
funding for Grow Your Own Teacher programs that
provide opportunities for paraeducators or substitute teachers to become
licensed teachers. And I will push to fully fund the Teacher Quality
Partnership program to support teacher residency programs in high-need areas,
like rural communities, and in areas of expertise like Special Education and
Build a more diverse educator and school leadership pipeline: Representation
matters in the classroom, and a diverse workforce helps all
students. Teachers of color can boost the academic
outcomes of their students and improve graduation
rates among students of color. Though the teacher workforce is getting more
diverse, it is not keeping pace with changes in student demographics: educators
of color comprise only 20% of the teaching
workforce, while students of color now represent more than half of
public school students.
My plan to cancel student loan debt, provide tuition-free public college, and
invest a minimum of $50 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities
and Minority Serving Institutions will help more Black, Latinx, Native
American, Asian American, and Pacific Islander students become educators and
school and district leaders. Over 38% of Black
teachers have degrees from HBCUs or MSIs. And Hispanic Serving Institutions are
playing a crucial role in
closing the teacher-student population demographic gap. I’ve also committed to
significantly increasing BIE funding so these schools can attract and train
teachers, particularly those from Native communities. But we must do more. I
will target the biases and discrimination that inhibit our ability to build a
diverse educator workforce and school leadership pipeline, such as pay discrimination,
by expanding OCR’s purview to investigate systemic and individual workplace
discrimination in our schools. And I am committed to passing the Equality Act to
guarantee workplace protections for LGBTQ+ teachers and staff.
Provide continuing education and professional development
opportunities to all school staff: Ongoing high-quality professional
development opportunities for teachers, administrators, and education support
professionals produce better
outcomes for students. As President, I will increase funding for critical
programs that fund professional development and ongoing education on effective
instruction, cultural competency, and child development for school staff, like
the Supporting Effective Instruction and Supporting Effective Educator
Development grants, that the Trump administration has proposed eliminating. And
I will invest in funding of IES research on best practices in professional
development that is effective and engages educators in decision-making on their
Combating the Privatization and Corruption of Our Public
To keep our traditional public school systems strong, we
must resist efforts to divert public funds out of traditional public schools.
Efforts to expand the footprint of charter schools, often without even ensuring
that charters are subject to the same transparency requirements and
safeguards as traditional public schools, strain the resources of school
districts and leave students behind, primarilystudents of color.
Further, inadequate funding and a growing education technology industry have
opened the door to the privatization and corruption of our traditional public
schools. More than half of the states allow public schools to be run by for-profit companies,
and corporations are leveraging their market power and schools’ desire to keep
pace with rapidly changing technology to extract profits at
the expense of vulnerable students.
This is wrong. We have a responsibility to provide great
neighborhood schools for every student. We should stop the diversion of public
dollars from traditional public schools through vouchers or tuition tax credits
— which are vouchers by another name. We should fight back against the
privatization, corporatization, and profiteering in our nation’s schools. I did
that when I opposed a ballot
question in Massachusetts to raise the cap on the number of charter schools,
even as dark money groups spent millions in
support of the measure. And as president, I will go further:
Ensure existing charter schools are subject to at least
the same level of transparency and accountability as traditional public
schools: Many existing charter schools aren’t subject to the
same transparency and accountability
requirements as traditional public schools. That’s wrong. That’s
why I support the NAACP’s recommendations to
only allow school districts to serve as charter authorizers, and to empower
school districts to reject applications that do not meet transparency and
accountability standards, consider the fiscal impact and strain on district
resources, and establish policies for aggressive oversight of charter schools.Certainstates are already
starting to take action along these lines to address the diversion of public
funds from traditional public schools. My administration will oppose the
authorization of new charter schools that do not meet these standards. My
administration also will crack down on union-busting and discriminatory enrollment, suspension, and expulsionpractices in
charter schools, and require boards to be made up of parents and members of the
public, not just founders, family members, or profit-seeking service providers.
End federal funding for the expansion of charter
schools: The Federal Charter School Program (CSP), a series of federal
grants established to
promote new charter schools, has been an abject failure. A recent report showed
that the federal government has wasted up to $1 billion on charter schools that
never even opened, or opened and then closed because of mismanagement and other
reasons. The Department of Education’s own watchdog has even criticized the
Department’s oversight of the CSP. As President, I would eliminate this
charter school program and end federal funding for the expansion of charter
schools. I would also examine whether other federal programs or tax credits
subsidize the creation of new charter schools and seek to limit the use of
those programs for that purpose.
Ban for-profit charter schools: Our public
schools should benefit students, not the financial or ideological interests of
wealthy patrons like the DeVos and Walton families. I
will fight to ban for-profit charter schools and charter schools that outsource
their operations to for-profit companies.
Direct the IRS to investigate so-called nonprofit schools
that are violating the statutory requirements for nonprofits: Many
so-called nonprofit schools – including charter schools – operate alongside closely
held, for-profit service providers. Others are run by for-profit companies that
siphon off profits from students and taxpayers. The IRS should investigate the
nonprofit status of these schools and refer cases to the Tax Fraud Division of
the Department of Justice when appropriate. I would also apply my plan’s ban on
for-profit charter schools to any of these so-called “nonprofit” schools
that actually servefor-profit interests.
And my plan would ban self-dealing in nonprofit schools to prevent founders and
administrators from funneling resources to service providers owned or managed
by their family members.
Expand enforcement of whistleblower actions against
schools that commit fraud against taxpayers: Our federal laws allow
whistleblowers to bring actions to expose fraud and retrieve stolen federal
money. The Department of Justice should expand its enforcement of these
whistleblower actions to address fraud that appears all too common in certain charter schools,
including online charter schools that falsify or inflate their
It’s also time to end the corporate capture of our education
system and crack down on corruption and anti-competitive practices in the
education industry. Here’s how we can start:
Require companies that lobby school systems that receive
federal funding to comply with expanded federal lobbying restrictions and
disclosure requirements: Corporate lobbyists spend millions of
dollars lobbying state
officials. If companies are lobbying for contracts from schools receiving
federal funding, they should be subject to our federal lobbying rules, even
when they are lobbying state officials. That’s why my plan would
require all companies that lobby for these contracts to comply with the new
federal lobbying proposals in my plan to end Washington corruption. That
means that these education conglomerates will have to disclose the details of
their meetings with all public officials, their lobbyists will not be able to
donate or fundraise for federal candidates, those lobbyists will not be able to
cycle through the revolving door into our federal government, and education
companies like Pearson that often spend over $500,000 in a single year on
lobbying will be subject to my new lobbying tax.
Ban the sharing, storing, and sale of student data:Severalinvestigations have revealed that
educational technology companies, for-profit schools, and other educational
entities are selling student data to corporations. My plan would extend the
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to ban the sharing,
storing, and sale of student data that includes names or other information that
can identify individual students. Violations should be punishable by
civil and criminal penalties.
Direct the FTC to crack down on anti-competitive data mining practices by educational technology companies: Big companies like Facebook and Google, and smaller companies like Class Dojo, have already collected student data to market products or to sell themselves to companies that can do so. As president, I would direct the FTC to crack down on these antic-competitive data mining practices by technology companies engaging in these practices in the education space, including by reviewing and blocking mergers of companies that have taken advantage of data consolidation.Require high-stakes testing companies to make all released prior testing materials publicly available: High-stakes testing companies create their own test prep companies using proprietary materials or sell these materials directly to those who can afford it, giving some children a distinct advantage on those tests. My plan would bar companies with federal government contracts from selling questions to individuals or to companies for commercial purposes.
Read statements of support from
National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, and others here
vigorous contest of Democrats seeking the 2020 presidential nomination has
produced excellent policy proposals to address major issues. In a recent poll,
Americans have indicated that education is a top issue. Vice President
Joe Biden has announced a detailed plan for education
beyond high school in order to build a stronger, more inclusive
middle class. This is from the Biden campaign:
For many, earning a bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, or other credential
after high school is unaffordable or saddles them with so much debt it prevents
them from buying a home, saving for retirement. Or, it puts financial stress on
their parents and grandparents. In an increasingly globalized and
technology-driven economy, 12 years of education is no longer enough for
American workers to remain competitive and earn a good income. While 6 in 10
jobs require some education after high school, not all require a bachelor’s degree.
Biden is proposing a bold plan for education and training beyond high school
that will give hard-working Americans the chance to join or maintain their
place in the middle class, regardless of their parents’ income or the color of
their skin. Four years of college shouldn’t be the only path to the middle
class. Biden’s plan ensures every child in the U.S. can afford the path that
makes sense for them – whether its an industry credential, associate’s degree,
or bachelor’s degree. Coupled with his proposals to make sure there are quality
jobs ready for our workers, Biden is putting forward a bold plan to rebuild the
backbone of our country – the middle class – and this time make sure everyone
has the chance to come along.
As president, Biden will:
Invest in community colleges and training
to improve student success and grow a stronger, more prosperous, and more
inclusive middle class.
Strengthen college education as the
reliable pathway to the middle class, not an investment that provides
limited returns and leaves graduates with mountains of debt they can’t
Support colleges and universities that
play unique and vital roles in their communities, including Historically
Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions.
week, the campaign announced Women for Biden, highlighting how Trump’s
administration has turned its back on women. The Trump Administration’s failure
to deal with the student debt crisis is a perfect example. Women hold two
thirds of the nation’s $1.5 trillion student debt. Instead of reducing the debt
burden or expanding educational opportunities for women, Trump’s administration
– with Secretary Betsy DeVos leading the U.S. Department of Education – has
worked to cut access to education and sided with for-profit colleges and loan
companies over students and graduates.
Biden’s plan builds on his and Dr. Biden’s work to give hard working Americans
access to two years of community college without debt. A majority of community
college students are women and face unique barriers to completing their
degrees. Biden will expand these students’ access to needed services like child
care, and ensure that Pell Grants can be used for other costs like housing and
This plan builds on Vice President Biden’s comprehensive plan to invest in our children’s
education from birth through 12th grade. And, in the months ahead, Biden will
also outline in further detail his proposals to make sure there are quality
jobs ready for our workers.
FACT SHEET: THE BIDEN PLAN FOR EDUCATION BEYOND HIGH SCHOOL
Joe Biden is
running for president to rebuild the backbone of the United States – the middle
class – and this time make sure everyone has a chance to come along. In
today’s increasingly globalized and technology-driven economy, 12 years of
education is no longer enough for American workers to remain competitive and
earn a middle class income. Roughly 6 in 10
some education beyond a high school diploma. And, because technology continues
to change, American workers – whether they have an industry-recognized
credential, an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a PhD – will need
opportunities to continue to learn and grow their skills for career success and
increased wages in the 21st century economy.
But for too many, earning a degree or other credential after high school is
unaffordable today. For others, their education saddles them with so much debt
it prevents them from buying a home or saving for retirement, or their parents
or grandparents take on some of the financial burden.
Biden is proposing a bold plan for education and training beyond high school
that will give hard-working Americans the chance to join or maintain their
place in the middle class, regardless of their parents’ income or the color of
their skin. President Biden will:
community colleges and training to improve student success and grow a stronger,
more prosperous, and more inclusive middle class.
college as the reliable pathway to the middle class, not an investment that
provides limited returns and leaves graduates with mountains of debt they can’t
colleges and universities that play unique and vital roles in their
communities, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities and
All of these
proposals will be implemented in partnership with states as well as school
faculty and staff. Educators must play a key role in decisions affecting
teaching and learning.
Of course, increasing the quality and affordability of post-secondary education
system alone is not enough to make sure our middle class succeeds. This plan
builds on Vice President Biden’s comprehensive plan to invest in our children’s
education from birth through 12th grade. And, in the months ahead, Biden will
also outline in further detail his proposals to make sure there are quality
jobs ready for our workers.
INVEST IN COMMUNITY COLLEGES AND
TRAINING TO IMPROVE STUDENT SUCCESS AND GROW A STRONGER, MORE PROSPEROUS, AND
MORE INCLUSIVE MIDDLE CLASS
Dr. Jill Biden, a current community college professor, refers to community
colleges as America’s best kept secret. They are a proven, high-quality tool
for providing hard-working Americans access to education and skills and a
pathway to the middle class. In fact, today in the United States there
are an estimated 30
million quality jobs,
with an average salary of $55,000, that don’t require a bachelor’s degree.
Every year, millions of Americans attend community
colleges to get the credentials they need to obtain these jobs. And, community
colleges offer affordable, quality ways for students to complete the first two
years of a four-year degree.
Part of what makes community colleges so extraordinary is that, working with
limited resources, they have figured out how to provide a high-quality,
cost-effective education to students often juggling additional
responsibilities, such as jobs or child care. But as a country, we haven’t
invested enough in making sure community colleges can reach all the Americans
who could benefit from their programs, or improve their quality and completion
The Biden Administration will build on community colleges’ success and unleash
their full potential to grow a stronger, more inclusive middle class by:
two years of community college or other high-quality training program without
debt for any hard-working individual looking to learn and improve their skills
to keep up with the changing nature of work. In 2015, President Obama and Vice
President Biden proposed to make two years of community
college tuition-free for hard-working students. Since then, Vice President
Biden and Dr. Biden have championed progress toward this goal, and hundreds of state and local College Promise programs have expanded access
to free two-year or four-year college educations. As president, Biden will
build on this progress by enacting legislation to ensure that every
hard-working individual, including those attending school part-time and DREAMers
(young adults who came to U.S. as children), can go to community college for up
to two years without having to pay tuition. Individuals will also be able to
use these funds to pursue training programs that have a track record of
participants completing their programs and securing good jobs. Importantly,
this initiative will not just be for recent high school graduates; it will also
be available to adults who never had the chance to pursue additional education
beyond high school or who need to learn new skills. And, students who do want a
bachelor’s degree could then transfer to a four-year school, including to
Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions
that play vital roles in their communities. This plan will be a federal-state
partnership, with the federal government covering 75% of the cost and states
contributing the remaining obligation. The federal government will cover up to
95% of the cost for Indian Tribes operating community colleges serving
a new grant program to assist community colleges in improving their students’
Biden Administration will support community colleges implementing
evidence-based practices and innovative solutions to increase their students’
retention and completion of credentials. Reforms could include academic and
career advising services; dual enrollment; credit articulation agreements;
investing in wages, benefits, and professional development to recruit and
retain faculty, including teacher residencies; and improvements to remediation
programs. The Biden plan will also help community colleges around the country
scale successful programs to help a larger number of students.
the barriers that prevent students from completing their community college
degree or training credential. There are too many Americans who don’t complete their
education or training programs not because of a lack of will, but because of
other responsibilities they are juggling, such as a job to pay their bills or
caring for children. Often these students and their families also face housing
and food insecurity. The Biden Administration’s community college initiative
will be a first-dollar program, meaning that students will be able to use their
Pell grants, state aid, and other aid to help them cover expenses beyond
tuition and fees. In addition, the Biden plan will give states financial
incentives to foster collaboration between community colleges and
community-based organizations to provide wraparound support services for
students, especially veterans, single parents, low-income students, students of
color, and students with disabilities who may face unique challenges.
Wraparound support services can range from public benefits and additional
financial aid to cover textbook and transportation costs that often keep
students from staying enrolled, to child care and mental health services,
faculty mentoring, tutoring, and peer support groups. And, Biden will establish
a federal grant program to help community colleges create emergency grant
programs for students who experience an unexpected financial challenge that
threatens their ability to stay enrolled.
a $50 billion investment in workforce training, including community-college
business partnerships and apprenticeships. In 2014, President Obama asked Vice President Biden to develop
a national strategy for reforming our nation’s workforce training programs
designed to prepare “ready-to-work
Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.” Building on the successful models championed through that
initiative, President Biden will make an investment of $50 billion in
high-quality training programs. These funds will create and support
partnerships between community colleges, businesses, unions, state, local, and
tribal governments, universities, and high schools to identify in-demand
knowledge and skills in a community and develop or modernize training programs
– which could be as short as a few months or as long as two years – that lead
to a relevant, high-demand industry-recognized credential. These funds will
also exponentially increase the number of apprenticeships in this country
through strengthening the Registered Apprenticeship Program and partnering with
unions who oversee some of the best apprenticeship programs throughout our
nation, not watering down the quality of the apprenticeship system like
President Trump is proposing.
in community college facilities and technology. Biden will invest $8 billion to help
community colleges improve the health and safety of their facilities, and equip
their schools with new technology that will empower their students to succeed
in the 21st century.
COLLEGE AS A RELIABLE PATHWAY TO THE MIDDLE CLASS
This challenge is also intergenerational. Almost one in ten Americans in their 40s and 50s
still hold student loan debt. But, college debt has especially
impacted Millennials who
pursued educational opportunities during the height of the Great Recession and
now struggle to pay down their student loans instead of buying a house, opening
their own business, or setting money aside for retirement.
There are several drivers of this problem. The cost of higher education has
the mid-1990s. States have dramatically decreased investments in higher education, leaving
students and their families with the bill. And, too often individuals have been
swindled into paying for credentials that don’t provide value to graduates in
the job market. As president, Biden will address all of these challenges.
Biden’s plan to make two years of community college without debt will
immediately offer individuals a way to become work-ready with a two-year degree
or an industry certification. It will also halve their tuition costs for
obtaining a four-year degree, by earning an associate’s degree and then
transferring those credits to a four-year college or university. And, as a
federal-state partnership, it will ensure states both invest in community
colleges and give states some flexibility to also invest in college readiness
or affordability at four-year institutions. In addition, President Biden will:
additional financial support to low-income and middle-class individuals by
doubling the maximum value of Pell grants, significantly increasing the number
of middle-class Americans who can participate in the program. Pell grants help 7 million
students a year
afford college, but they have not kept up with the rising cost of college. In
the 1970s, Pell grants covered roughly 70 to 80
percent of the
cost of a four-year degree at a public institution; today, that percentage has
been cut in more than half, to roughly 30 percent. Biden will double the maximum value of the Pell
grant, a level of investment experts say is necessary to close the gap
between the rich and poor so that everyone has the opportunity to receive an
education beyond high school, and will automatically
increase the value based on inflation.
Doubling the maximum value of Pell grants will increase the grant value for
individuals already eligible for Pell and, given the program’s formula for
determining eligibility, expand the benefits of Pell to more middle class
Americans. As president, Biden will also take care of young immigrants by
ensuring DREAMers are eligible for financial aid if they meet other
requirements for that aid. And, he will restore formerly incarcerated
individuals’ eligibility for Pell.
than halve payments on undergraduate federal student loans by simplifying and
increasing the generosity of today’s income-based repayment program. Under the Biden plan, individuals
making $25,000 or less per year will not owe any payments on their undergraduate
federal student loans and also won’t accrue any interest on those loans.
Everyone else will pay 5% of their discretionary income (income minus taxes and
essential spending like housing and food) over $25,000 toward their loans. This
plan will save millions of Americans thousands of dollars a year. After 20
years, the remainder of the loans for people who have responsibly made payments
through the program will be 100% forgiven. Individuals with new and existing
loans will all be automatically enrolled in the income-based repayment program,
with the opportunity to opt out if they wish. In addition to relieving some of
the burden of student debt, this will enable graduates to pursue careers in
public service and other fields without high levels of compensation. Biden will
also change the tax code so that debt forgiven through the income-based
repayment plan won’t be taxed. Americans shouldn’t have to take out a loan to
pay their taxes when they finally are free from their student loans.
loan forgiveness work for public servants. Public servants do the hard work that
is essential to our country’s success – protecting us, teaching our children,
keeping our streets clean and our lights on, and so much more. But the program
designed to help these individuals serve without having to worry about the
burden of their student loans – the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program –
is broken. Biden will create a new, simple program which offers $10,000 of
undergraduate or graduate student debt relief for every year of national or
community service, up to five years. Individuals working in schools,
government, and other non-profit settings will be automatically enrolled in
this forgiveness program; up to five years of prior national or community
service will also qualify. Additionally, Biden will fix the existing Public
Service Loan Forgiveness program by securing passage of the What You Can Do
For Your Country Act of
will ensure adjunct professors are eligible for this loan forgiveness,
depending on the amount of time devoted to teaching.
a “Title I for postsecondary education” to help students at
under-resourced four-year schools complete their degrees. The Biden Administration will
establish a new grant program to support under-resourced four-year schools that
serve large numbers of Pell-eligible students. The funds will be used to foster
collaboration between colleges and community-based organizations to provide
wraparound support services for students, especially veterans, single parents,
low-income students, students of color, and students with disabilities who may
face unique challenges. Wraparound support services can range from public
benefits and additional financial aid to cover textbook and transportation
costs that often keep students from staying enrolled, to child care and mental
health services, faculty mentoring, tutoring, and peer support groups. And,
Biden will ensure that these funds can be used to help colleges create
emergency grant programs for students who experience an unexpected financial
challenge that threatens their ability to stay enrolled.
seamless pathways between high school, job training, community college, and
four-year programs to help students get their degrees and credentials
Biden Administration will provide grants to states that work to accelerate
students’ attainment of credentials, including bachelor’s degrees, while still
ensuring quality and accountability. For example, some communities have adopted
the early college model, allowing students to begin earning credits towards an
associate’s degree while still in high school. And, in some areas students can
be dual enrolled in the community college and the four-year program they wish
to complete. Biden will challenge more communities to expand on these
accelerated pathways and create a seamless transition between high school,
community college, other job training, and four-year programs, enabling
students to obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in less time. Approaches
to accelerating degree attainment include guided pathways that provide a
sequence of classes for a specific area of study; shifting toward a 12-month
academic calendar; better aligning high school, community college, and
four-year college courses; providing college credits for quality,
degree-related on-the-job training; and offering degree-related paid
internships for course credit. Read more about Joe Biden’s plan for education from birth
through 12th grade here.
the use of work-study funds for job-related and public service roles. Biden will work to reform federal
work study programs to ensure that more of these funds place students in roles
where they are either learning skills valuable for their intended careers, or
contributing to their communities by mentoring students in K-12 classrooms and
for-profit education programs from profiteering off of students. Students who started their
education at for-profit colleges default on their student loans at a rate three times
those who start at non-profit colleges. These for-profit programs are often
predatory – devoted to high-pressure and misleading recruiting practices and
charging higher costs for lower quality education that leaves graduates with
mountains of debt and without good job opportunities. The Biden Administration
will require for-profits to first prove their value to the U.S. Department of
Education before gaining eligibility for federal aid. The Biden Administration
will also return to the Obama-Biden Borrower’s Defense Rule, forgiving the debt
held by individuals who were deceived by the worst for-profit college or career
profiteers. Finally, President Biden will enact legislation eliminating
the so-called 90/10 loophole that gives for-profit schools
an incentive to enroll veterans and servicemembers in programs that aren’t
down on private lenders profiteering off of students and allow individuals
holding private loans to discharge them in bankruptcy. In 2015, the Obama-Biden Administration
called for Congress to pass a law permitting the discharge of private student
loans in bankruptcy. As president, Biden will enact this legislation. In
addition, the Biden Administration will empower the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau – established during the Obama-Biden Administration – to take
action against private lenders who are misleading students about their options
and do not provide an affordable payment plan when individuals are
experiencing acute periods
of financial hardship.
and protect post-9/11 GI benefits for veterans and qualified family members. Veterans and their family
members served our country and as a nation, we must maintain our commitment to
GI benefits. The Obama-Biden Administration took groundbreaking action to
ensure that veterans and their family members were empowered to make informed
decisions regarding their education and, in turn, ensure that programs
educating them met high quality standards. President Biden will build and
convene coalitions of experts and advocates to continue this work. He’ll also
strengthen the GI Bill Comparison Tool and School Feedback
Tool to put an
end to post-secondary institutions’ predatory practices.
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES THAT PLAY UNIQUE AND VITAL ROLES IN THEIR COMMUNITIES
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges And
Universities (TCUs), Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSIs), Asian American And
Native American Pacific Islander-serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), Alaska
Native-serving Institutions and Native Hawaiian-serving Institutions (ANNHs),
Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs), and Native American-serving Nontribal
Institutions (NASNTIs) serve a disproportionate number of students of color and
low-income students, yet are severely under-resourced, especially when compared
to other colleges and universities.
As president, Biden will take steps to rectify the funding disparities faced by
HBCUs, TCUs, and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) so that the United States
can benefit from their unique strengths. Students at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs will
benefit from Biden’s proposals to double Pell grants, slash the income-based
repayment of loans to 5% of income, and provide free tuition for students at
all community colleges, including those that are MSIs. In addition, Biden will
invest over $70 billion in these colleges and universities to:
HBCUs, TCUs, and under-resourced MSIs more affordable for their students. The Biden plan will invest $18
billion in grants to these four-year schools, equivalent to up to two years of
tuition per low-income and middle class student, including DREAMers and
students who transfer to a four-year HBCU, TCU, or MSI from a tuition-free
community college. Schools must invest in lowering costs, improving retention
and graduation rates, and closing equity gaps year over year for students of
in the diverse talent at HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs to solve the country’s most
pressing problems. The Biden Administration will invest $10 billion to create at least
200 new centers of excellence that serve as research incubators and connect
students underrepresented in fields critical to our nation’s future – including
fields tackling climate change, globalization, inequality, health disparities,
and cancer – to learning and career opportunities. These funds will provide
additional work study opportunities and incentivize state, private, and
philanthropic dollars for these centers. Biden will also boost funding for
agricultural research at land-grant universities, many of which are HBCUs and
TCUs, as outlined in his Plan for Rural
president, Biden will also dedicate additional and increased priority funding
streams at federal agencies for grants and contracts for HBCUs and MSIs. And,
he will require any federal research grants to universities with an endowment
of over $1 billion to form a meaningful partnership and enter into a 10%
minimum subcontract with an HBCU, TCU, or MSI.
the high tech labs and facilities and digital infrastructure needed for
learning, research, and innovation at HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs. Biden will invest $20 billion in
infrastructure for HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to build the physical research
facilities and labs urgently needed to deliver on the country’s research and
development, to update and modernize deteriorating facilities, including
by strengthening the Historic
and to create new space for increasing enrollments, especially at HSIs. While
schools will be able to use these funds to upgrade the digital infrastructure,
Biden will also support TCUs and other institutions in rural areas by investing
$20 billion in rural broadband infrastructure and tripling funding to expand
broadband access in rural areas. Additionally, as president, Biden will ensure
all HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs have access to low-cost federal capital
financing programs and
will work with states to ensure they can take advantage of these programs. And,
he will work to incentivize further public, private, and philanthropic
investments in school infrastructure.
support to continuously improve the value of HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs by investing
$10 billion in programs that increase enrollment, retention, completion, and
employment rates. These programs may include partnerships with both high
schools, other universities, and employers; evidence-based remedial courses;
academic and career advising services; and investing in wages, benefits, and
professional development and benefits to recruit and retain faculty, including
teacher residencies. Additionally, Biden will incentivize states, private, and
philanthropic dollars to invest in these programs, while ensuring schools that
do not receive matches increase their competitiveness.
career pathways for graduates of HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs in areas that meet
national priorities, including building a diverse pipeline of public school
will invest $5 billion in graduate programs in teaching, health care, and STEM
and will develop robust internship and career pipelines at major research
agencies, including Department of Energy National Laboratories, National
Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the Department of
and make permanent the capacity-building and student support for HBCUs, TCUs,
and MSIs in Title III and Title V of the Higher Education Act. These funds serve as a lifeline to
under-resourced HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs year over year, ensuring that the most
vulnerable students have the support they need to succeed. The Biden
Administration will make permanent $750 million per year in Title III and Title
V funding, which will provide a dedicated revenue stream of $7.5 billion over
the first ten years.
disparities in funding for HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs. Biden will require federal agencies
and states to publish reports of their allocation of federal funding to
colleges and universities. When inequities exist between HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs
and similar non-HBCU, TCU, MSI colleges, federal agencies and states will be
required to publish robust rationale and show improvements in eliminating
disparities year over year. To ensure funding is more equitably distributed
among HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, the Biden Administration will require that
competitive grant programs make similar universities compete against each
other, for example, ensuring that HBCUs only compete against HBCUs. And,
President Biden will require higher education accreditors to provide increased
transparency in their processes.
Biden recognizes the critical role low-endowment private colleges and universities
play in providing educational opportunities and jobs in many rural communities.
As president, he will establish an innovation competitive grant fund for these
institutions, giving them additional funds to invest in increasing graduation
rates; closing ethnic, racial, and income disparities; and increasing career
outcomes for low-income students, students of color, first-generation students,
and students with disabilities..
SUPPORTING LEARNERS AND WORKERS,
NOT REWARDING WEALTH
The Biden plan for education beyond high school is a $750 billion investment
over ten years targeted at growing a stronger, more inclusive middle class. It
will be paid for by making sure that the super-wealthy pay their fair share.
Specifically, this plan will be paid for by eliminating the stepped-up basis
loophole and capping the itemized deductions the wealthiest Americans can take
For more on Vice President
Biden’s plan, see HERE. To
see how Vice President Biden’s plan would impact you, click HERE.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Senator Klobuchar’s mom taught second grade until she was 70 years and she was also a proud teachers’ union member who walked the picket line in the 1951 teachers’ strike. As the daughter of a teacher and union member, Senator Klobuchar understands that a good education is a basic right of every child and that all Americans should have the educational opportunities they need to succeed in today’s economy.
During the presidential campaign, Senator Klobuchar has announced plans to fully fund education and our schools, make a historic investment in increasing teacher pay, close the opportunity gap, fully fund the IDEA, boost STEM education and apprenticeship opportunities, and rebuild our crumbling school infrastructure.
In addition to her already announced plans, Senator Klobuchar is announcing at the 2019 National Education Association Presidential Forum an additional proposal — new federal-state school “Progress Partnerships” that will allow states to take aggressive action to support our students. These partnerships are designed to elevate the voices of our educators and they will provide additional resources to help states take bold action to fund our public schools, support our teachers, and prioritize learning.
Increase teacher pay: States will agree to a
state-federal partnership with a generous federal match to increase salaries
for all teachers, as well as recommendations that address unique state needs
when it comes to the teacher pipeline, such as recruitment, retention,
diversity of the workforce, and quality of teacher preparation. State educators
should be included in the development of these plans.
Adapt high school curricula to improve workforce
readiness and post-secondary success: State education departments, working
with educators, will evaluate student career and college readiness, including
coursework, curriculum and other policies that prepare students for today’s
workforce and post-secondary success.
Establish an equitable school infrastructure funding
mechanism: In addition to receiving generous direct federal funding for school infrastructure
improvements, states will create a mechanism for distributing
federal school infrastructure funding that addresses disparities in conditions
and resources and ensures equity in funding for construction and repairs of
school buildings across the state.
Submit recommendations to align school services and
schedules with the needs of working families: States will work with
educators to develop and submit recommendations on how schools can meet the
needs of working families, which could include low-cost after-school programs,
alternative programs for students on days when schools are closed, and a
community school model that wraps other community services in the school
building to make schools into community hubs.
Convene a commission to review the state’s existing
funding formula to improve equity: States will review the existing funding
formula to ensure that all students, particularly those with the greatest need,
have access to adequate educational resources. The commission must include
professional educators and develop recommendations for improving state
education funding equity, which will be published biennially along with an
assessment of state progress.
As part of her plan for her first 100 days as President,
Senator Klobuchar will also:
Reduce racial disparities in disciplining students.
Senator Klobuchar will re-issue guidance directing schools to reduce racial
disparities in how they discipline students, which prompted more than 50 of
America’s largest school districts to institute discipline reform.
Fully fund the IDEA and reinstate the guidance protecting
the rights of students with disabilities. Senator Klobuchar’s budget will
fully fund IDEA to support students with disabilities. In addition, Senator
Klobuchar will reinstate documents protecting the rights of students with
disabilities after Secretary DeVos rescinded 72 guidance documents outlining
Prevent the expansion of private school vouchers.
Senator Klobuchar will stand firmly with our public schools and end discussions
of Secretary Betsy DeVos’s $50 billion proposal to fund private school
Restore protections for the LGBTQ community. Senator
Klobuchar will reverse the harmful anti-LGBTQ administrative actions taken by
the Trump Administration when it comes to education, health care and civil
rights, and she will work to pass the Equality Act in year one of her
New York State Governor
Andrew Cuomo has said he won’t sign the state budget unless it makes permanent
the property tax cap.
“The highest tax in the state
is the property tax and it is a killer,” Governor Cuomo said.”We want to reduce economic
pressure on families by making sure government is not aggravating the problem
with increased expenses. We’re going to cut your state income tax and
we’re going to cap your property taxes so you know it’s not going higher than 2
percent. And I will tell you this as sure as I am before you today: if we do
not have the permanent property tax cap in that state budget, this hand will
never sign that state budget until it’s in there.”
From the very
beginning, I have objected to this trampling off local control with an
arbitrary and unreasonable constraint designed to hamstring and ultimately
destroy local governments. Cuomo’s original intent was to force school
districts and other local governments to cannibalize their reserve funds; the
second was to force consolidation and dissolution of local governments and the
third was to use local taxes as the bogeyman, so politicians could appear to be
on the side of taxpayers.
Of course the
property tax is the largest state tax and of course school taxes are the
largest component. Something has to be “largest”. What should be? But local
property taxes are spent where they are used, and local people have the
greatest ability to participate in spending decisions. In fact, school and
library taxes are the only taxes we taxpayers directly vote.
What the property
tax cap does, though, is remove local control. Communities should have the
right to decide if they want to improve their schools or parks. The property
tax cap which basically keeps the annual increase to 2% or the rate of
inflation whichever is less says: we
don’t want any growth or improvement or new investment in your community. We
want the status quo, and if that means deterioration, so be it. (Little known
fact: the property tax cap incentivizes bonding because the debt service isn’t
counted toward the cap.)
Somehow, and fairly
ingeniously I think, the Great Neck Public School district has managed to
continue to be among the best in the country and still average only 1.8 percent
increase in the tax levy since the property tax cap was implemented in 2012,
despite increasing enrollments and unfunded state mandates. This year, though,
through the complicated formula, the school district could have raised taxes by
4.09 percent and still fall within the cap, is only seeking 1.94 percent
I resent the
property tax cap by which the Governor and state legislators can declare
themselves champions of reducing or controlling taxes.
But here’s the
thing: New York State’s property taxes are not the highest in the nation; Nassau
County’s taxes are not the highest; and both of these do not take into account
that Long Island and New York’s incomes and our housing values are higher.
According to a survey by Wallethub, a financial services company, New York State ranks 8th (not first) in property taxes. New York ranks 43rd in its real estate tax rate, at 1.68 percent. You know which states are higher? Nebraska (1.80), Texas (1.83), Vermont (1.83), Wisconsin (1.94), Connecticut (2.07), New Hampshire (2.20), Illinois (2.31), and New Jersey (2.44) (See the study: https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-highest-and-lowest-property-taxes/11585/)
Even so, do you
want to be Alabama, which is #2 on the list for lowest taxes, where the median
home value is $132,000 and the tax is $558 (0.42%), or Louisiana, #3, where the
median home value is $152,900 and median tax is $795 (0.52%)? Louisiana ranks
51st in health care, Alabama is 48th. New York is 17th
(fourth most physicians per capita)
USA Today ranks New
York’s public education 9th noting, “Between 2003 and 2015, the
achievement gap between eighth graders living in poverty and their wealthier
peers narrowed by the largest amount of all states…Annual public school
funding totals $18,665 per pupil in New York, the third highest expenditure of
all states.” (Top three are Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont). Alabama
ranks 43rd (14th lowest in public school spending at
$10,142). Louisiana is 46th, Mississippi is 48th.
Yes, total taxes
are high: New Yorkers spend 17.07 percent of income on taxes, second highest after
Connecticut (17.65 percent). But New York State is spending billions on a
21st century infrastructure and racing toward 50:50 clean energy by
2030. This is where I want to live. So do 20 million others, a number that is
increasing, even as unemployment rates are at the lowest ever and the number of
jobs is at an all-time high.
We pay a lot in
taxes because our incomes are higher and our housing values are higher, what is
more, we get more for our money, making for a higher quality of life.
The states that
don’t charge an appropriate amount of state and local taxes – that is related
to the cost of providing services and public investment – depend on federal
handouts. New York is one of 11 states that send more money to the federal
government than it gets back, in fact the #1 donor state, sending $36-$48
billion more to the federal government than it gets back. Alabama is 4th
“most federally dependent state”; Louisiana is 10th.
New York sends the
second highest amount in federal taxes, $133 billion (California sends $227
billion), and is fourth in the average amount of federal taxes per adult
($8,490), behind Connecticut $10,279), Massachusetts ($9,445), and New Jersey
(Here’s an idea: New York should do
what tenants do in a landlord dispute and put that $36 billion into escrow
until the SALT deductibility issue is fixed.)
But we shouldn’t be
punishing our localities because of the criminality of Republicans to use the tax
code as political weapon – according to State Comptroller Tom Dinapoli, the
SALT deduction cap has driven down tax receipts by $2.3 billion, as wealthiest
New Yorkers choose other places for primary residency.
But the tax cap is also a
larger objective is to eliminate local municipalities entirely – to force villages
to consolidate into towns, towns into counties, school districts into larger
school districts. But the fallacy in that is all that it saves is a few
administrative positions. Villages and school districts already have
cooperative purchasing, mutual aid; school districts even cooperate on
transportation where feasible. Our school district spends 4 percent of its
budget on administration, the lion’s share, 75 percent, on instruction (12
percent on building, grounds & capital projects, 6 percent on
transportation). (To see where your schools spend every penny, come to Great
Neck South High School this Saturday at 9:30 am for the line-by-line budget
The state boasts that since
implementation the tax cap has “saved” taxpayers $24.4
billion statewide – that works out to $1000 per capita, divided by 7 years, or
$142 a year. I’m not sure that’s worth giving up local control.
But just as Cuomo
and the Congressmembers decry Trump’s disparity in federal spending for blue
states versus red states and the attack on state control over its ability to
raise revenue and spend, it is the same thing with local spending: there is
gigantic disparity in the level of state
aid to school districts, with the result that New York City only has to raise
50 percent of its school budget from property taxes, while Great Neck, which
gets just 4 percent from the state, has to raise 95 percent through property
taxes. Here’s another measure: Roosevelt, with 3270 enrolled students, gets $53
million in state aid; Great Neck, with 6399 enrolled students, gets $10 million
– the difference made up from property taxes. That’s just the way it is.
What the property
tax cap means is that virtually all Great Neck’s school spending is governed by
the cap; other districts have much less that is controlled by the tax cap.
for determining if our elected representatives are properly handling our tax
appropriations is on the community, not an arbitrarily selected cap enshrined
We see what our
school taxes (and park and library and sewer district) pay for and I don’t want
the state – or some politician looking to score points – deciding we can’t have
low class size or a robotics club or a fencing team or an opera performance
(Great Neck South High marks its 50th anniversary full-scale opera
production, April 12). This community has decided these things are just as
important to our district’s mission of helping every child fulfill their full
potential as cramming the latest incarnation of ELA and math or operating
school buildings as if they were prisons. Our mission has been to instill a
love of life-long learning. And the investment this community has made in
public education has brought solid ROI day after day.
It is an amazing experience to sit in a movie theater watching the world premiere of a documentary in the small village on Long Island where it was filmed with the people it was filmed about. “This Business of Autism” is more than a profile of a social enterprise built around providing jobs for adults on the autism spectrum, it provides a manual, a template to how such businesses could be replicated and even more significantly, why they should be replicated.
The documentary leaps from Port Washington where Spectrum Designs, a social enterprise company founded in 2011 to employ adults on the autism spectrum, has just opened new, expanded offices, tripling the scale of its production (the documentary spends a considerable amount of time showing the building process and the fundraising to convert an office building into its plant). It travels to San Francisco to peek in on a Jobs Club that has focused on the need to train managers and mentors in companies that want to increase job opportunities for people with special needs, to Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, which has created an entire program that goes beyond the work skills to the life skills that are needed for the real world, and devotes a considerable amount of time to the wisdom of Dr. Temple Grandhin, who is herself on the autism spectrum, and lays out in no uncertain terms the need to instill self-sufficiency to the extent possible as early as possible.
The opening sets out the issue with jarring statistics: 1 in 59 children in the US is born with autism. Each year, 50,000 teens with autism age out of school-based services; an estimated 70- 90% of autistic adults are unemployed, under-engaged and leaving lives of isolation; 84% of these adults live with their parents, who have the constant fear of what will happen to their children after they pass away.
Autism is a lifelong neurological disorder affecting the way a person communicates, socializes and engages with the world. Though there is no cure, behavioral therapy can transform lives, and the earlier services are provided, the better. The highest functioning individuals on the autism spectrum are employed by the likes of NASA and Silicon Valley, but the vast majority – the 60 percent in the middle – have few employment opportunities.
It is fascinating to be brought into the homes of the parents of SpectrumDesign’s employees – starting with the founders of Spectrum Designs Foundation and Nicholas Center, Stella Spanakos and Nicole Sugrue, whose sons are autistic, lived with the daily panic of how their children will be able to fare in the world. Stella, after suddenly losing her husband, resolved to take the bull by the horns. She teamed up with Nicole, whose son was at the same summer camp as Stella’s. They decided to start a business that could employ special needs adults. Nicole googled “recession-proof businesses” and came up with t-shirt printing. They brought in Patrick Bardsley, who as an 18-year old had come from England to be a counselor at the summer camp and as fate would have it, became the one-on-one for Stella’s son; as Stella tells it, he was able to bring out the joy and happiness in her son, who was non-verbal and would act out, such as she had never seen from her son.
It turns out that t-shirt printing was a fortuitous choice because the tasks can be are defined, with a beginning, middle and end, can be easily taught, and are well suited to individuals who are in that 60% range on the spectrum.
They had the advantage of building a business around this social purpose, rather than insert employees with special needs into an existing business. And we get some insights into that: the visual cues are key, like the giant chart that tells everybody their tasks for the day with words and pictures; the lists of steps at each work station; naming the various machines and areas (one is named Octopus). Also, there is a one-to-three ratio of “educators” to workers.
What else is necessary? All the back-ups and supports, starting with the Nicolas Center, which helps counsel the young people and screen them for jobs and training.
I ask about the noise and stimuli of production that might trigger bad reactions, and am told that there are quiet spaces, a break room, and the enterprise, which actually has three components (custom printing, Spectrum Bakes which makes snacks custom packaged for gifts, and Spectrum Suds, a boutique laundry service), has quiet areas and activities. People are not employed in the print production area if they cannot deal with the noise and activity.
Training is a huge component. Workers are not slotted into a single repetitive task as on an assembly line (the image of Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights” comes to mind), but rather undertake various parts of the process, indeed, every day there are different projects and jobs to undertake necessitating training for different tasks.
And that is a key issue: as Nicole noted, this is a business, albeit one that is based on social enterprise. Clients (who have included Northwell Health, KPMG, Google, Facebook, Accenture, NYU Langone Health and Mount Sinai) do not hire Spectrum Designs for their customized printing solely out of altruism but to get a quality product back. This isn’t an enterprise for a shop class in a high school, though certainly, high schools should undertake more of the skills training that people will likely need as adults. Indeed, the business has been growing at a rate of 80% a year, and from $100,000.in sales in 2012, to a projected $1.1 million in 2016, and targeting $3 million by 2020, in their expanded (tripled) space.
On the other hand, as the film demonstrates, the Spectrum Designs experience is replicable – I can even see them franchising in the way Sir Speedy does, since they have all the elements down: the machinery needed, equipment and product costs, construction costs and issues of building architecture that are pertinent, the revenue projections, and most significantly, the hiring, training, counseling aspects.
But while this not-for-profit has developed a sustainable business model, it also requires the support of community – that is the village of Port Washington, the Town of North Hempstead, and the state. The funding to build the business – purchase the machinery and the building- had to come from somewhere; the funding to counsel and train comes from somewhere.
Indeed, as the film also points out, the return on investment in developing self-sufficient individuals for society, the community and government is enormous, compared to government spending that goes merely to warehouse individuals.
The cost of autism across a lifetime averages $1.4 million to $2.4 million. These costs, which increase with intellectual disability, place a tremendous burden on families and society, but can be dramatically reduced with high-quality interventions and adult transition support.
Jack Martins, the former State Senator (a Republican) remarks in the film, “This is an appropriate role for government.”
And the genuine feeling of self-worth, of accomplishment in bringing home a paycheck is, well, priceless. There is a lot to be said for quality of life and not merely existing.
The interviews with the parents make clear how they struggled: they consider their children “the first generation”, when autism was just beginning to be diagnosed,and too many were diagnosed late or had to fight to get appropriate services (40 states now mandate now require health coverage for behavioral health treatment). As one parent notes, it is vital to receive appropriate services as young as possible because it makes a huge difference in the child’s development.
Now we are in the second generation, when the autism spectrum is better understood and the diagnosis more readily made – in fact, the prevalence of the diagnosis has doubled in a decade – it is a huge percentage of the population, touching so many families, so much so that people on the spectrum should be appreciated as having different abilities, rather than disabilities.
And that’s the goal for the “third generation”: that people can be appreciated for their differences and abilities, with appropriate academic and life skills preparation in schools, job training and opportunities, and adult home living arrangements that give some independence.
The documentary, “This Business Of Autism” addresses the positive impacts of developing profitable businesses while leveraging the unique capabilities of adults with autism. By confronting head-on the reality that an estimated 70% to 90% of these adults are unemployed or underemployed, these businesses can also provide avenues for corporate social outreach, mitigate the economic impacts on communities, and provide hope for families that their children might have sustainable, relevant and stimulating employment opportunities.
The film serves as a tutorial, a business manual, and even more importantly, raises awareness and overturns misconceptions. It sensitizes corporations, employers, communities about what they can do, what they need to do, to help.
“We wanted to show the capabilities of the middle 60% – not the top or the bottom 20% – but the middle 60% who are hard working, dedicated, loyal,” said Stephen Mackey, the film’s director, at the world premiere of the film, presented as part of the Gold Coast Arts Center’s Cinema Series, at the Soundview Cinemas, mere blocks away from Spectrum Designs new building on Main Street in Port Washington.
The documentary is available on Vimeo on Demand and on Amazon, and will be available on itunes and Googleplay.The producer is also taking orders for blueray, dvd and educational packages. “We believe that there are universities and vocational schools that will see what Spectrum Designs is doing. Half of the proceeds are being returned to the Spectrum Foundation.
Spectrum Designs Foundation has a sophisticated website, where customers can send in their order for custom apparent, promotional items, screen printing, digital printing and embroidery. Design your own or utilize their in-house graphic design team. (Spectrum Designs, 366 Main Street, Port Washington NY 11050, email@example.com, www.spectrumdesigns.org)
About 1,000 people gathered in Washington Square Park in downtown Manhattan for a rally, teach-in, and March for Science. Speakers, including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, decried the politicization of science, the censorship, banning and defunding of scientists and research, and warned that the United States will lose its economic and political leadership in the world if it loses its place on the forefront of scientific innovation and development.
All I could think about as I marched the 1.8 miles from Washington Square Park down Broadway to Zuccotti Park (famous for the Occupy Wall Street movement), is how sad, how pathetic, what an embarrassment for the United States of America to have to hold demonstrations to “Save Science.” We have regressed back to the Salem Witch Trials.
The New York City March for Science was one of many organized around the country during this Earth Month (April 22 is Earth Day). Last year, the first year of such demonstrations, brought out 1.3 million in support of robust science research, evidence-based policies, and science education. “Today, we continue the momentum gained from last year’s inaugural march to show policy makers that the March for Science is more than a single-day event. It’s a movement.”
“The 2018 March for Science New York City recognizes the importance of an informed democracy in order to maintain a free, healthy, happy, and accessible society. That is why we come together as a community of non-partisan scientists and friends to show the importance of protecting and promoting people’s rights, the public’s access to scientific information, the environment in which we exist, and scientific research. We hope to use this march to spark increased community involvement for the promotion of science for the common good through sustained action.”
“Science is beacon to a better future, health care, technology, transport,” declared Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). “Devotion to science is at the root of progress in every industry, lifting people from poverty; expanding opportunity, saving lives, feeding the hungry. We will never fund a better investment.
“But Congress wants to cut funds for research, cut fuel efficiency standards. [America] is losing leadership because of cutbacks,” she said. “We have to go forward….Science took us to moon.. America is the tech, innovation leader in the world because of science. Science brought us success.
“We must support science, truth, freedom and democracy,” said Maloney, a sponsor of the Science Integrity Act to shield science from ideology.
Paul Gallay of Riverkeeper, which has helped to clean up the Hudson River and drinking water throughout the state, contrasted the backward movement by the federal government to the progress in New York State. Largely based on the data collection by Riverkeeper and other advocates, New York has allocated $3 billion to improve water infrastructure based on scientific data, and a new law that requires testing and regulation of “emerging contaminants, “because we in New York value science.
“The EPA has been decimated. Hundreds of scientists who were there in January 2017, are gone. Ideology masquerades as policy. There is no quantitative analysis, just press releases.
“You keep doing research, driving innovation and groups like Riverkeeper will fight for policies to get clean water. And if politicians don’t, we’ll keep suing.
“We need to get politics out of science – get more active. And not just once a year. Make policies about science, not in spite of science. Pound pavement, so they can hear it in DC. Tell your state senators, local politicians to fight for science, save science,” Gallay said.
Bill Ulfeder, executive director of The Nature Conservancy, declared, “Science is what makes America great. It is essential for health, prosperity, safety, security.
“This is Earth Month (April 22 is Earth Day). Scientists, including Rachel Carson, alerted the country to the dangers of pollution, pesticides. Science informed the Endangered Species Act.
“For 65 years, the Nature Conservancy has been guided by science. We believe in the power of science to solve the problems we face – climate change, food shortage, disease. Only through science can we create a world where nature and humans thrive together.
“Invest in science. Appreciate that science needs and deserves diverse voices – more perspectives – to inform, promote healthy debate to make the best choices.”
Lauren Kurtz, Executive Director of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF), charged that “Scientific facts are downplayed, rejected. Policies are advocated that run counter to known science, including climate science.” And when that happens, CSLDF, which works to protect the scientific endeavor in general and climate scientists in particular by providing legal support and resources to scientists who are threatened, harassed, or attacked for doing their job, fights back.
“We keep track: 126 incidents when the government silenced scientists. Regulations have not kept pace with science and of the health risk of certain chemicals. We want stronger rules.”
“Removing ‘climate change’ [from EPA, Department of Agriculture and other government agency sites], staffing with ideologues… undermines out competitiveness and position on the forefront of science, leader in scientific discovery.
“We have the power to fight back – shine spotlight – call attention to misrepresentation, to speak out when censorship. March, speak out, act where can have impact such as on the local level. Vote.”
State Senator Brad Hoylman, who represents the district that New York University is in, noted “People think NY is deep blue state, that everyone smart, watches Rachel Maddow, reads NY times, understands a fact is not opinion. But things are different in Albany when comes to science. We need more evidence-based policy making.
“We know vaccinations save lives,” he said, drawing a cheer. Vaccination is one of greatest turning points in health. But when I introduced a bill to make vaccinations mandatory for elementary school children, you would have thought I called for destruction of society. The Anti-Vacs movement, even though the link between vaccines and autism has been disproved over and over again…
“Gay conversion therapy,” he continued, drawing boos.”There are mental health providers licensed by New York State who are trying to convert people from being gay. New York needs to yank their licenses.” People who are exposed to such conversion therapy, he said, “affects who they are as a person, sends a message to others, and perpetuates myth.”
Another issue is climate change, “one of the most important issues of our time. When Trump was inaugurated, the White House page on climate change was removed. [In reaction], in Albany, we tried to pass a resolution about the danger of climate change but Republicans wouldn’t allow a vote, saying there was ‘disagreement on the validity. Science doesn’t back that up.
“We need to take this energy today and elevate public discourse, based on facts from people who know what talking about – scientists, researchers, academics, experts. Everything else is bluster…We will embrace our intellectual, academic, research to bring to bear the best policies for New York.”
“Where live shouldn’t Increase risk to pollution, toxins, pesticides,” stated
Beverly Watkins, a community-based research scientist and health care provider who does “Big Picture Science” research into health disparities. “Health is a human right – growing up poor, your gender, sexual orientation, ethnic background should not have a higher rate of disease – diabetes, asthma, hypertension. Yet a difference in socioeconomic status perpetuates health disparities.”
Laurie Garrett, former senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York, currently developing the
Anthropocene Disruption Project, raised the issue of global competitiveness.
“In a race with three centers- China, France and Canada are welcoming scientists, with the appeal, ‘America may not be a home for you.’
“America needs science. And Science needs globalization.” Take for example what happens when you destroy globalization and internationalism – Brexit. Already, Britain is experiencing an 11.8% decrease in technology investment because of its impending dissociation with the European Union.
But besides a reduction in investment, “Collaborative science is failing. There is diminished freedom to emigrate from the EU to UK.
“Democracy depends on science. Congress can’t protect us from Russian trolls, from surveillance by greedy companies. We need science to advise, create appropriate policies. If we don’t have strong science, Research & Development, our economy can’t survive.
“The good news after all the panic about [the Trump Administration’s determination to slash the science budget, it got its biggest increase, 12.2%. National Institutes of Health budget is up 8.3%; energy up 15%; NASA saw its allocation increased to $1.2 billion; the US Geological Survey’s budget was increased to $1.1 billion; EPA was allocated $8.1 billion. The American people get it.”
But Science is not just global, international and collaborative, she continued, “We need to get out of our silos to solve the biggest challenges we face – climate change, microbiological resistance, cybersecurity, robotics, water and food scarcity, safety, acidification of the oceans. The world needs globalized, collectivized, interdisciplinary science.”
“Why we march? We march for evidence-based policy; for increased diversity, inclusion in the scientific community, for meaningful engagement between science and society, to build global community of advocates for science,” David Kantor, professor of environmental studies of NYU and the coordinator for New York’s March for Science.
Here are more images from the March for Science NYC:
It doesn’t matter that Trump’s preposterously named “A New Foundation for American Greatness” budget is “dead on arrival” according to even staunch Republican, Texas Senator John Cornyn. Much of it is the long-time wet dream of Paul Ryan and Republicans whose singular ambition has been to destroy the New Deal, Square Deal, Great Society. They would eliminate the minimum wage, child labor laws, food and product safety, Clean Air & Water protections, Social Security and Medicare and most notably Medicaid, sell off national parks and monuments to mining and oil and gas industrialists. And this is before taking into account tax “reform” that would take $2 trillion out of the national budget to put into the pockets of the wealthiest and corporations, so they have even more extra pocket change to spend on political campaigns.
Indeed, the Trump budget is everything that the Republicans have been dying to do, but didn’t dare. But Trump doesn’t care. He has shown that it really isn’t hard atall to cut the budget when you really don’t care what the numbers represent,when you have no clue and no interest.
The Trump Budget is built on “Trumponomics, as Office of Management and Budget Director Mike Mulvaney proudly exclaimed, “It’s a taxpayer-first budget, going line by line through the budget, trying to put yourself in the shoes of the people who are paying for those lines….What Trumponomics is and what this budget is a part of is an effort to get to sustained 3 percent economic growth in this country again..And by the way, we do not believe that that is something fanciful.”
Indeed, this is a “tough love” approach to force malingerers off things like food stamps – it’s not non-living wages paid by companies pocketing record profits that keep workers below the poverty line that’s the problem.
“Getting people back to work. Create an environment where people more comfortable staying at …We no longer measure compassion by the number of programs or number of people on programs. We measure success by how many get off programs and have success in lives.”
But the figures don’t actually add up.
Economists from across the spectrum say that the math that underlies the main selling point for Trump’s budget, that it will “balance the budget” in 10 years, is a crock. It doesn’t take into account the $1 trillion or so in tax cuts that will go entirely to the wealthiest and to corporations that Trump sketched out; it assumes a 3% rate of annual economic growth, which would mean 50% more economic activity, which everyone says is beyond pie-in-the-sky; and it actually double-counts $2 trillion, prompting headlines like this one from Slate, “Donald Trump’s budget is based on a hilarious accounting fraud” and “The dumb accounting error at the heart of Trump’s budget “ from Vox.
Health care a right, not a privilege? Trump’s budget projects a 28.3% DROP in spending for health services, $2 trillion less spending, over a 10-year period – despite the aging and increase in population. This includes a 27% decrease in spending for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (imagine another Ebola, Zika or Swine Flu outbreak); 25% drop in Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (even as Trumpcare will no longer include mental health or addiction), 25% less spending for research and training, including 25% cut for the National Institutes of Health (no interest in finding therapies or cures for Zika, Alzheimers or “orphan” diseases that wouldn’t be profitable enough for Big Pharma); 40% cut for the Food & Drug Administration (let Big Pharma do what they will); 15% drop in food safety and inspection; 17% cut to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 16% cut in already strapped Occupation and Mine Safety and Health spending even as he overturned regulations.
$1.4 trillion gap in infrastructure spending to repair decaying roads, bridges airports? Trump would cut Transportation spending by 25% cut (65% cut to National Infrastructure Investments; 50% cut to air transportation which is already woefully in need of upgrades); 28% cut to Education, Training, Employment and Social Services.
His cuts to environmental protection – on top of slashing regulations that give communities a fighting chance to protect their air, water and public health – amount to Hague Tribunal level of war criminality for what he will do to the planet, let alone our communities. The allocation is cut 27.1% – $132 billion worth – including a 34% cut in Pollution control and abatement, 42% cut in Regulatory, enforcement and research programs, 37% cut in Hazardous substance superfund ($330 million less in 2018).
Trump would end funding for the Clean Power Plan, international climate change programs, climate change research and partnership programs, and related efforts—“saving” over $100 million in 2018. He cuts out $129 million in funding for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement. He cuts out $233 million in 2018 for the EPA’s Research & Development (ie. climate change science). It eliminates more than 50 EPA programs, $347 million worth in 2018; and ends funding for specific regional efforts such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Chesapeake Bay, amounting to $427 million in 2018.
Trump would cut General Science, Space & Technology spending by 14.7%, including 18.9% cut to General Science and basic research.
International Affairs would be cut nearly in half, including 26% cut in spending for Global Health programs; 74% cut in Refugee programs; 66% percent cut in International Disaster Assistance, 83% cut in “other” development and humanitarian assistance.”
Setting aside for a moment that Trump and his billionaire friends don’t actually pay their fare share of taxes, nor do many profitable American companies which have stashed $2 trillion in offshore accounts, the Republicans’ approach is what Hillary Clinton correctly observed, “trickle down economics on steroids.” It didn’t work with Reagan or George W. Bush. And this is even worse.
No matter: the extremity of Trump’s proposed budget, the callousness of it, will give cover to Ryan and the House Republicans and make anything they do seem “moderate”, even “compassionate.” So they cut Medicaid by $600 billion instead of $866 billion and call it a “win” for the little people; they cut the State Department by 20% instead of 30% and pat themselves on the head; they cut the EPA by 25% instead of 31%.
Here’s what Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) wrote: “Speaker of the House Paul Ryan says that Donald Trump’s new budget is ‘right on the target.’ That’s all you need to know about just how devastating Trump’s budget will be for working families in Massachusetts and across this country.
$5 billion in cuts to public education
$73 billion in cuts to Social Security
$191 billion in cuts to food stamps
$610 billion in cuts to Medicaid (and that’s in addition to the $880 billion the House Republicans are slashing in their so-called “health care” bill)
“Those are just a few of the highlights. What else gets cut? Money for children’s health care, money to combat the opioid epidemic, money for medical research, money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and so much more.
“This budget is ‘right on the target’ only if the target is to sucker-punch kids, seniors, the poor and the sick. If the Republicans make good on this budget, they could deliver the final blow to America’s working families.
“We don’t build a future by ripping health care away from tens of millions of people. We don’t build a future by starving education, by letting our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, and by shutting down the big pipeline of medical and scientific research in this country.
“We build a future by making the investments in ourselves and all of our people – so the next kid can get ahead, and the kid after that, and the kid after that. We’ve done this before in our country, and we can do it again.
”Budgets aren’t just about dollars and cents. Budgets are about our values, and this budget is morally bankrupt,” Warren wrote.
Trump and the Republicans would cut out all the things that have “made America great,” and a world leader in innovation and entrepreneurship, not to mention the main tools for spreading democracy and human rights across the globe (through capitalist investment, which is what China and Russia are now doing).
This is the midst of an actually strong economy, near “full employment” and as we keep hearing, a record stock market.
The Trump budget is the essence of everything that Trump is doing to weaken the US as an economic power, a world power, and its ability to be a moral leader, that Reaganesque “beacon on a hill” of political righteousness.
As we marked Memorial Day this past weekend, a New York Times book review of “The Allure of Battle: A History of How Wars Have Been Won and Lost,” by Cathal J. Nolan, pointed out that “Generally, one side, usually the one with a smaller economy and population, becomes exhausted, and gives up. Talk about élan and audacity all you like, he counsels, but what wins wars is demography and economic strength.” That is to say, winning a war is more a matter of “hearts and minds” vs. “bombs and brigades” as we have been seeing in America’s longest wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Everything that Trump has done so far (putting aside the fact that he is an illegitimate occupier of the Oval Office by selling out to an adversary government), will weaken the US as an economic power, a world power, and its ability to be a moral leader, that Reaganesque “beacon on a hill” of political righteousness.
Indeed, Trump, who cozied up to the Saudis while hectoring NATO allies and the G7, on his “epic” overseas trip, came back declaring “a home run”, while Germany’s Angela Merkel told Europe, “We can no longer depend on the US or UK. We are on our own.”
New York State, along with other “blue” states like California, already send way more income tax money to Washington than we get back while the “red” states, which so pride themselves in low state taxes and low wages get far more than they send. Like tenants with a legal fight against their landlord, I would propose that New Yorkers collect their federal income tax money in an escrow account, to pay for services that should be paid by the federal government, such as police and security protection (which Trump is threatening to cut to New York and other states that don’t cooperate in his roundup of undocumented individuals), environmental restoration, health care for those whose subsidies have been eliminated, public schools, infrastructure repair, food stamps and school lunch program.
Donald Trump is racing to the 100-day mark to do as much as he can to undo progress won over the past century, particularly eradicating every part of Barack Obama’s legacy.
On Wednesday, he signed Executive Orders weakening the Antiquities Act that has been used since Theodore Roosevelt to protect federal land for the American people.
He signed another Executive Order aimed at rolling back national education standards put into place, originally, by George W. Bush under the No Child Left Behind Act, amended with Barack Obama’s Race to the Top (which used federal financial incentives instead of threats of losing federal aid), and reformed under ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act).
Also, his Treasury Secretary introduced the outline for tax “reform” which cuts taxes for the wealthiest and corporations and promises to blow a hold trillions of dollars wide in the national debt, just as previous “voodoo” “trickle-down” tax “reform” by Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have done.
According to the pool report by Dave Boyer, White House correspondent for The Washington Times:
The president signed an executive order at the Interior Dept. with Vice President Pence, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and several lawmakers and governors. The order directs Interior to review larger national monuments created since 1996.
Trump said the Antiquities Act “does not give the federal government unlimited power to lock up” millions of acres of land and water. He especially criticized the Obama administration for an “egregious use of power” and an “abuse of the monuments designation,” and said that it’s time “to end another egregious abuse of federal power.”
“It’s gotten worse and worse and worse. This should never have happened,” he said. “Now we’re going to free it up.”
“We’re returning power back to the people,” Mr. Trump said. “Today we’re putting the states back in charge.”
Pence called the use of the monuments designation “one of the great federal overreaches in recent decades.”
Mr. Zinke said “somewhere along the line, the act has become a tool of political advocacy.” He said the order “does not remove any monuments” or weaken any environmental protections.
[However, it is clear that the powers that Trump is taking upon himself is aimed at reversing Obama’s designation of Bears Ears in Utah.)
Here’s more of what Trump said:
“In the first 100 days, we have taken historic action to eliminate wasteful regulations. They’re being eliminated like nobody has ever seen before. There has never been anything like it. Sometimes I look at some of the things I’m signing I say maybe people won’t like it, but I’m doing the right thing. And no regular politician is going do it. (Laughter.) I don’t know if you folks would do — I will tell you literally some politicians have said, you’re doing the right thing. I don’t know if I would have had the courage to do some of these things. But we’re doing them because it’s the right thing to do. And it’s for the good of the nation.
“We’re returning power back to the people. We’ve eliminated job-destroying regulations on farmers, ranchers, and coal miners, on autoworkers, and so many other American workers and businesses.
“Today, I am signing a new executive order to end another egregious abuse of federal power, and to give that power back to the states and to the people, where it belongs.
“The previous administration used a 100-year-old law known as the Antiquities Act to unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control — have you heard about that? — eliminating the ability of the people who actually live in those states to decide how best to use that land.
“Today, we are putting the states back in charge. It’s a big thing.
“I am pleased to be joined by so many members of Congress and governors who have been waiting for this moment, including Governor Herbert of Utah. Thank you, thank you, Governor. Governor LePage of Maine, who, by the way, has lost a lot of weight. (Laughter.) I knew him when he was heavy, and now I know him when he’s thin, and I like him both ways, okay? (Laughter.) Done a great job. Governor Calvo of Guam. Thank you. Governor Torres from the Northern Mariana Islands. Thank you, thank you, Governor.
“I also want to recognize Senator Orrin Hatch, who — believe me, he’s tough. He would call me and call me and say, you got to do this. Is that right, Orrin?”
SENATOR HATCH: That’s right.
THE PRESIDENT: You didn’t stop. He doesn’t give up. And he’s shocked that I’m doing it, but I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do. But I really have to point you out, you didn’t stop.
“And, Mike, the same thing. So many people feel — Mike Lee — so many people feel so strongly about this, and so I appreciate your support and your prodding, and your never-ending prodding, I should say, because we’re now getting something done that many people thought would never ever get done, and I’m very proud to be doing it in honor of you guys, okay? Thank you. (Applause.)
“Altogether, the previous administration bypassed the states to place over 265 million acres — that’s a lot of land, million acres. Think of it — 265 million acres of land and water under federal control through the abuse of the monuments designation. That’s larger than the entire state of Texas.
“In December of last year alone, the federal government asserted this power over 1.35 million acres of land in Utah, known as Bears Ears — I’ve heard a lot about Bears Ears, and I hear it’s beautiful — over the profound objections of the citizens of Utah. The Antiquities Act does not give the federal government unlimited power to lock up millions of acres of land and water, and it’s time we ended this abusive practice.
“I’ve spoken with many state and local leaders — a number of them here today — who care very much about preserving our land, and who are gravely concerned about this massive federal land grab. And it’s gotten worse and worse and worse, and now we’re going to free it up, which is what should have happened in the first place. This should never have happened.
“That’s why today I am signing this order and directing Secretary Zinke to end these abuses and return control to the people — the people of Utah, the people of all of the states, the people of the United States.
“Every day, we are going to continue pushing ahead with our reform agenda to put the American people back in charge of their government and their lives.
“And again, I want to congratulate the Secretary. I want to congratulate Orrin and Mike and all of the people that worked so hard on bringing it to this point. And tremendously positive things are going to happen on that incredible land, the likes of which there is nothing more beautiful anywhere in the world. But now tremendously positive things will happen.”
The signing took place in a room at Interior with a framed portrait of Teddy Roosevelt, a bust of TR and mounted heads of a buffalo and deer on the wall. Among those in attendance were Sens. Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch of Utah and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Also Govs. Herbert of Utah and LePage of Maine.
Reversing Education Reform
Trump walked into the Roosevelt Room at 2:44 p.m., having been introduced by Vice President Pence. He was greeted by a group of about 25 people, including teachers, lawmakers and governors, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, according to Boyer’s pool report:
A bit of banter:
Mr. Trump joked with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, incoming head of the National Governors Association, about the length of Sandoval’s prepared remarks, with Trump saying he decided to stay in the room after his own comments because “I know it’s going to be a short speech” from Sandoval.
Mr. Sandoval laughed and told the president, “It just got shorter.”
A few moments later during his remarks, Mr. Sandoval said, “I’m going to skip a page.”
The president, standing to the rear of the group, called out, “Education for North Korea.”
During the event, Mr. Trump also said he was heading afterward for a “very important” briefing for senators on North Korea.
During the president’s formal remarks, he said the education executive order will help to restore local control of education. It calls for a 300-day review of Obama-era regulations and guidance for school districts and directs DeVos to modify or repeal measures deemed an overreach by Washington.
“We know that local communities do it best and know it best,” the president said. He called it “another critical step to restoring local control, which is so important.”
“Previous administrations have wrongly forced states and schools to comply with federal whims and dictates for what our kids are taught,” he said. “The time has come to empower teachers and parents to make the decisions that help their students achieve success.”
Among those in attendance were Sen. Lamar Alexander, Rep. Virginia Foxx and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Gov. Herbert of Utah and LePage of Maine, and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, nominee for ambassador to China.
Mr. Trump told Mr. Branstad, “They’re looking forward to seeing you” in China.
From there, Trump honored the Teacher of the Year, who, surprise surprise, is the first to be from a charter school in the 65 years of the award.
Boyer reports no questions taken at this event.
Pool was ushered into the Oval Office around 4:45 p.m. to find the President seated at the Resolute desk, surrounded by 55 teachers from around the nation, plus First Lady Melania Trump (who is celebrating her birthday), Vice President Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
The President congratulated Sydney Chaffee, winner of the 2017 National Teacher of the Year, from Codman Academy Charter Public School in Dorchester, Mass. The ninth-grade teacher is the first charter school teacher to win the award in its 65-year history, and also the first from Massachusetts.
“That is really something special,” Mr. Trump said.
The president also thanked the group for having sung “Happy Birthday” to the First Lady before your poolers arrived.
The president greeted your poolers with, “Busy day, hasn’t it been?”
He praised the teachers as “the greatest there are. You’re all great, great teachers.”
Near the conclusion of the president’s comments, as he was saying he hopes the teachers’ trip to the White House was special, one unidentified teacher began to cry, apparently tears of happiness.
“Sorry, I’m always crying,” she told the president.
The President told her, “I’ve had some of the biggest executives in the world, who have been here many times, and I say have you been to the Oval Office? No. They walk into the Oval Office and they start crying. I say ‘I promise I won’t say to your various stockholders [that they cried].”
The president did not answer a question shouted near the end about North Korea.
Meanwhile, the outline of his tax plan was unveiled which would:
Slash the corporate tax rate by 60%, from 35% to 15%. This will lose $2.4 trillion over 10 years—enough to fund Medicaid and CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program) serving nearly 75 million Americans for five years.
Cut the tax rate paid by Wall Street money managers and real estate tycoons like Trump down to just 15%―far less than many middle-class families pay.
Continue tax breaks that encourage corporations to send jobs and profits offshore. Corporations currently have $2.6 trillion in profits stashed offshore, on which they owe $750 billion in taxes.
The theory – by Republicans since Ronald Reagan – is that the deficit in tax revenues would be made up by economic growth, except that has never been the case.
In reaction, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) stated:
“At a time when we have a rigged economy designed to benefit the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations, President Trump’s new tax plan would only make that system worse. He would slash taxes for himself and his billionaire friends and significantly increase the deficit, while doing little to help rebuild the collapsing middle class. Rather than making large profitable corporations – many of which pay nothing in federal income tax – finally contribute their fair share, Trump wants to give them a huge tax break.
“At a time when Trump wants to make major cuts in education, health care, senior programs, nutrition and affordable housing, it is especially outrageous that he would propose the elimination of the Estate Tax and provide a $353 billion dollar tax giveaway to the wealthiest 0.2 percent – including a tax break of up to $4 billion to the Trump family.”
Only Donald Tweeter Trump could reply to a remark about how the International Space Station is “by far, the best example of international cooperation and what we can do when we work together in the history of humanity” with a statement about the “tremendous military application in space. We’re rebuilding our military like never before.”
Following the astronauts’ inspiration message to the thousands of students participating in the video chat with Peggy Whitson, the commander on the international space station, who just hit a milestone as the American with the most time in space, and a discussion of all the scientific and medical achievements gained from the space station, Trump said:
“So well said. And I have to say, there’s tremendous military application in space. We’re rebuilding our military like never before. We’re ordering equipment, and we’re going to have the strongest military that we’ve ever had, the strongest military that the world has ever seen, and there’s been no time where we need it more. And I’m sure that every student watching wants to know, what is next for Americans in space.”
Then, after being told that a Mars mission is planned for the 2030s, Trump, again showing how clueless and uncaring he is about actual facts, says it would take place during his first term, or “at worst” his second term (apparently he intends to pull an Erdogan).
Here is the White House transcript which speaks volumes about the so-called Commander-in-Chief – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features
10:00 A.M. EDT
NASA: White House, this is Mission Control, Houston. Please call Station for a voice check.
THE PRESIDENT: Do you hear me?
CMDR. WHITSON: Yes, sir. We have you loud and clear.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s what we like — great American equipment that works. And this isn’t easy. (Laughter.)
I want to say it’s very exciting to be here today — very, very exciting — and to speak to you live with three brave American astronauts. These are our finest. These are great, great Americans, great people. Two join us from orbit aboard the International Space Station: Commander Peggy Whitson and Colonel Jack Fischer. And Peggy Whitson has been setting records, and we’re going to talk about that very soon.
I’m here in the Oval Office, along with my daughter Ivanka and astronaut Kate Rubins, who recently returned from space and from the Space Station. Together, we are being joined by students all across America, thousands and thousands of students who are learning — they’re learning about space, learning about a lot of other things — and they’re watching this conversation from the classroom. And, all over, we have astronauts and we have everybody, who are flying right now, 17,000 miles per hour. That’s about as fast as I’ve ever heard. I wouldn’t want to be flying 17,000 miles an hour. But that’s what you do.
Peggy, Jack, and Kate, I know that America’s students are thrilled to hear from you. But first, I want to say that this is a very special day in the glorious history of American spaceflight. Today, Commander Whitson, you have broken the record for the most total time spent in space by an American astronaut — 534 days and counting. That’s an incredible record to break. And on behalf of our nation and, frankly, on behalf of the world, I’d like to congratulate you. That is really something. And I’d like to know, how does it feel to have broken such a big and important record?
CMDR. WHITSON: Well, it’s actually a huge honor to break a record like this, but it’s an honor for me basically to be representing all the folks at NASA who make this spaceflight possible and who make me setting this record feasible. And so it’s a very exciting time to be at NASA. We are all very much looking forward, as directed by your new NASA bill — we’re excited about the missions to Mars in the 2030s. And so we actually, physically, have hardware on the ground that’s being built for the SLS rocket that’s going to take us there. And, of course, the hardware being built now is going to be for the test flights that will eventually get us there.
But it’s a very exciting time, and I’m so proud of the team.
THE PRESIDENT: Great. And what are we learning from having you spending your time up there? I know so much research is done; I’m getting a glimpse of some of it right here in the Oval Office. What are we learning by being in space?
CMDR. WHITSON: Well, I think probably the International Space Station is providing a key bridge from us living on Earth to going somewhere into deep space. So on those Mars missions, we need to better understand how microgravity is really affecting our body, and we need to understand it in great detail. So, many of the studies are looking at the human body. We’re also looking at things that involve operations of a space vehicles on these long-duration missions and the technological advancements that will be required.
For instance, on a multiyear Mars mission, we’re going to need to be able to close the life support system, and that means we, right now, for instance, are taking solar power that we collect, and using it to break apart water into oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen, we breathe, of course. We use the hydrogen, combine it back with the CO2 that we take out of the air, and make more water. But water is such a precious resource up here that we also are cleaning up our urine and making it drinkable. And it’s really not as bad as it sounds.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s good. I’m glad to hear that. (Laughter.) Better you than me. I will say, Colonel Fischer, you just arrived, and how was your trip? Complicated? Easy? How did it go?
COL. FISCHER: Oh, sir, it was awesome. It made even my beloved F-22 feel a little bit underpowered. I launched in a Russian vehicle with my Russian friend, Fyodor Yurchikhin, from Kazakhstan. Got the immediate perspective change as we got to orbit, and I saw that frail, thin blue line of life around the Earth. Six hours later, we’re docked at the station. The next day, I install an experiment in the Japanese module that’s going to be looking at new drugs and how we can make those drugs for muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer’s, multi-drug-resistant bacteria — all sorts of things. A couple hours later, I watched our crewmate, Thomas Pesquet, a Frenchman, drive a Canadian robotic arm to capture a spaceship from Virginia, carrying 3.5 tons of cargo and science that’s going to keep us busy for the next few months, and dock that to the station.
Sir, it’s amazing. Oh, and then, you know, now I’m talking to the President of the United States while hanging from a wall. It’s amazing. The International Space Station is, by far, the best example of international cooperation and what we can do when we work together in the history of humanity. And I am so proud to be a part of it. And it’s just cool. (Laughter.) Like, yesterday, I had — well, there you go — there’s our resident space ninja doing the gravity demonstration. And yesterday morning, I had my coffee in floaty ball form, and, sir, it was delicious. So, it’s awesome.
THE PRESIDENT: Tell me, Mars — what do you see a timing for actually sending humans to Mars? Is there a schedule? And when would you see that happening?
CMDR. WHITSON: Well, I think as your bill directed, it will be approximately in the 2030s. As I mentioned, we actually are building hardware to test the new heavy launch vehicle, and this vehicle will take us further than we’ve ever been away from this planet. Unfortunately, spaceflight takes a lot of time and money, so getting there will require some international cooperation to get it to be a planet-wide approach in order to make it successful, just because it is a very expensive endeavor. But it so worthwhile doing.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, we want to try and do it during my first term or, at worst, during my second term. So we’ll have to speed that up a little bit, okay?
CMDR. WHITSON: (Laughter.) We’ll do our best.
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, you will. And I have great respect for you folks. It’s amazing what you do. And I just want to introduce another great one. Kate Rubins is with us today, and she has been so impressive with research and so many other things having to do with NASA. And, Kate, I understand you’re the first person to sequence DNA in space. Can you tell us about that?
RUBINS: Yeah. So that was actually just this last summer, and it’s a real example of what we can do with technology and innovation. We’ve got a sequencer down to the size of your cellphone, and we were actually able to fly that onboard the space station and sequence DNA. It’s not just the technology demonstration, but we can actually use that to do things like detect microbes on the space station, look at astronaut health. We can easily use that in Earth-based settings, too, to look for disease outbreaks and to do rural healthcare as well.
TRUMP: That’s fantastic. That is really great. I saw some of the work, and it’s incredible. You know, I’ve been dealing with politicians so much, I’m so much more impressed with these people. You have no idea.
Now, speaking of another impressive person — Ivanka, you’ve been very much interested in this program. Tell us something about it.
MS. TRUMP: Hi, Dr. Whitson. First of all, congratulations on your incredible milestone today. You may know that my father recently signed the Inspire Women Act to encourage female participation in STEM fields across all aerospace areas, and really with a focus on NASA. So encouraging women and girls to pursue STEM careers is a major priority for this administration.
And today we are sitting with an amazing example of that — Dr. Rubins, and you, Dr. Whitson. So I would love to hear from you, what was the impetus for you to get involved in the sciences?
RUBINS: Yeah, so when I around fifteen, I actually went to a conference, and that was very inspiring for me. It was sort of the beginning of recombinant DNA and understanding biology. And so just that exposure to scientists and the kinds of things that you can do with science and technology innovation.
MS. TRUMP: Amazing. Dr. Whitson?
CMDR. WHITSON: For me, it was actually the Apollo program was my inspiration, and that was when it became a dream to become an astronaut. But I don’t really think it became a goal until I graduated from high school, when the first female astronauts were selected. And seeing those role models, and with the encouragement of my parents and various mentors in college and graduate school, and when I started working at Rice, that’s what made it possible, I think, to become an astronaut. And it took me a lot longer to become an astronaut than I ever really wanted it to take, but I do think I’m better at my job because of the journey.
MS. TRUMP: You’re an incredible inspiration to us all. So I would also like to ask you one more question. I’m incredibly curious, as I’m sure all the students across the country are, to know what a day in the life in space is like. Could you share what a typical day looks like, what the challenges are, just any special moments?
CMDR. WHITSON: Well, a typical day, we wake up and look at the messages from the ground, because we have a huge ground team that’s working overnight to prepare changes or the details of the tests that we’re going to be performing over the course of the day. So first thing I do is check out that, see what’s changed.
But on any given day, it can be so dramatically different. On one day, we might be focusing on science. On another day, we might be repairing the carbon dioxide removal system. On another day, soon Jack and I are going to do a spacewalk. We talked about, last Saturday, we did robotics operations. I love the diversity of the different activities that we do. Plus, you know, we have over 200 investigations ongoing onboard the space station, and I just think that’s a phenomenal part of the day.
Of course, there’s also just the living and, onboard the space station, it’s such a unique and novel environment. Nothing that we’re used to on the ground. And it’s so special to just be in zero gravity. So Jack is the new guy here, and I think he can probably give you a better perspective on what that’s like.
COL. FISCHER: Well, you know, everything here — my dad always said that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. And we work really hard up here, but it’s not really work, it’s just fun. It’s like playing fort almost, only you’re changing the world while you do it.
And then on the off time, the other morning I was working out, and on our machine that we work out on, right below it is the Cupola window. And so when you’re on the device where you do crunches, every time you come up, you see out the window. And it’s awesome because you kind of go, crunch, “Oh, my gosh, that’s beautiful! I got to do that again.” Crunch, “Oh my gosh, that’s beautiful.” It’s awesome. Everything we do here is fun, and it feels so great to know that we’re making a difference on the ground and for the future of humanity as well. So it’s an incredible, incredible job.
THE PRESIDENT: You’re making a great difference, I have to say. And this is a very exciting time for our country, and you see what’s happening with our country in terms of jobs, in terms of business, and there’s such excitement and such enthusiasm. Many American entrepreneurs are racing into space. I have many friends that are so excited about space. They want to get involved in space from the standpoint of entrepreneurship and business.
Tell us about the opportunities that could exist for the next generation of scientists and engineers. Is that something that you think a student — because you have so many students, hundreds of thousands watching — is that something that you think that students should be focusing, or should they be thinking about other subjects? What do you think are the opportunities for young students wanting to be involved in space?
COL. FISCHER: Sir, absolutely. I think that this is probably the most exciting in space exploration, certainly in my lifetime. We are about to just have an explosion of activity. There is so much involvement on the space station with commercial industries and commercial partners. We have an entire program to manage the science. NASA has done a wonderful job of seeding a new industry with the Commercial Crew Program and the Commercial Cargo Program so that we can build the infrastructure we need for the future exploration.
One thing I love about American entrepreneurs is, once you get them going, you better stand out of their way because they’re going to start chucking. And we’re about to that point. NASA is taking on that expensive, hard, complex task of going further and deeper into space with the wonderful new rocket, Space Launch System and Orion. And then, as soon as we break open that door, this incredible infrastructure that we’ve been building is going to be right there to pick up the baton and continue into the stars.
I would say to all the students that are watching, the time to get excited is now. If you aren’t studying science and math, you might want to think about that because our future in the stars starts now, and you can be a part of that if, like Dr. Whitson, you can find that passion and work really hard. And we’re going to find a permanent foothold in the stars for humanity if you do that.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you. So well said. And I have to say, there’s tremendous military application in space. We’re rebuilding our military like never before. We’re ordering equipment, and we’re going to have the strongest military that we’ve ever had, the strongest military that the world has ever seen, and there’s been no time where we need it more. And I’m sure that every student watching wants to know, what is next for Americans in space.
I’m very proud that I just signed a bill committing NASA to the aim of sending America astronauts to Mars. So we’ll do that. I think we’ll do it a lot sooner than we’re even thinking. So which one of you is ready to go to Mars? Are you ready? And I think you’re ready. I know you’re ready, right? We just discussed that. She’d like to go to Mars very quickly. Who’s ready to go to Mars up there?
CMDR. WHITSON: We are absolutely ready to go to Mars. It’s going to be a fantastic journey getting there, and very exciting times, and all of us would be happy to go. But I want all the young people out there to recognize that the real steps are going to be taken in a few years. And so by studying math, science, engineering, any kind of technology, you’re going to have a part in that, and that will be very exciting.
THE PRESIDENT: I just want to thank you very much. And, Dr. Whitson, I just — congratulations. Amazing. What an amazing thing that you’ve done. Everybody here — I know you’re family — but everybody here is incredibly proud of the record you just broke. I hope that every young American watching today finds, in your example, a reason to love space and think about space because many great things are going to come out, tremendous discoveries in medicine and so many other fields.
So thank you very much. I want to say God bless you, God bless America. We are very, very proud of you, and very proud of your bravery. Thank you very much.