Investing in Public Education
As a special education teacher, I know the power that schools have. I see it every day in the strength of the relationships I have with my students and their families: the shared understanding of what we can accomplish when we work together. This mutual vision is encouraging when we consider the promise of education, particularly in low-income communities. A well-functioning public education system could be the foundation of society’s efforts to dismantle systems of racial and economic inequality. Instead, due to the inequitable way that schools are funded, our education system currently reproduces the same inequality we hope to end.
Because of the importance of education in shaping our future, and since our schools have not been performing how we as a country want, it’s important to center the voices of those who have been fighting for our students and our schools in any education solution. As a teacher, I know that fixing our education system goes well beyond funding; it necessitates us honestly looking at how schools have become contested political spaces, privatized by non-educators to erode labor rights and push a pedagogy of acquiescence to the detriment of teachers and low-income students of color.
We must unequivocally support fully-funding our public schools; ending draconian disciplinary policies that disproportionately target students of color and students with disabilities, fanning the school-to-prison pipeline; and respecting our educators by paying them salaries that reflects the worth society places on their labor and love.
We must also recognize that higher education is a public good, just like K-12 education. Currently, Americans have $1.6 trillion in student debt. This debt not only severely burdens American families, especially lower-income households, but it slows the economy overall. Cancelling student loan debt is necessary to improving the financial security of American households and tackling extreme wealth inequality. Taking this step, while also guaranteeing free higher education, will liberate Americans from being forced into life-altering decisions about their educational future while also boosting the economy overall.
Our Education Plan:
Guarantee free, high-quality public education from pre-K-graduate school
Free higher education at public colleges, universities and trade schools
Equalize school funding by federally financing all public education, reducing reliance on local property taxes
Establish a moratorium on the creation and expansion of charter schools (as the NAACP recommended)
Fully fund city and state programs for desegregating and integrating all public schools
Guarantee access to #CounselorsNotCops in schools, ensuring that students have mental health resources, counselors, and social workers
Support programs that end punitive discipline models in schools (like long-term out-of-school suspensions) in favor of restorative justice models
End federal incentives for high-stakes testing
Support the establishment of mandatory maximum class sizes
Eliminate all existing student debt