Home > Uncategorized > Presidential Education Platform – Part III

Presidential Education Platform – Part III

September 28, 2014

I live in New Hampshire, the state that holds the first presidential primary in the nation. The presidential election is two years from November, but because we hold the “first-in-the-nation” status NH is already being visited by potential presidential candidates from both parties who are making an effort to differentiate themselves from each other and from the candidates running on the opposite party. After working in public education in six different states for over 35 years, serving as a consultant in several VT and NH districts for the past two years, and writing this blog for nearly three years, I have some thoughts on what an ideal education platform might look like. I also have some ideas on where the funds might come from to pay for the ideas incorporated in these “planks”, which I will include at the conclusion of each of the three posts. 

I am publishing my ideal education platform over a three day period, written as if it were being presented by the candidate. I welcome any feedback or editorial comments you might want to offer. In a recent blog post Jeff Bryant asserts that “Both anecdotal information and empirical data drawn from surveys confirm that voters don’t just value public education; they want candidates who will support classroom teachers and oppose funding cuts to public schools”. If that is true in November 2014, I have reason to believe it will be even more so in 2016. Here is the final section of my ideal presidential platform:

Post-Secondary Education

  • Reduce the interest rates on student loans to 1% above the rate the Federal Reserve charges to banks: The USDOE, loan servicers, and “too big too fail” banks are charging post-secondary students and graduates exorbitant interest rates and when the students are unable to pay the loans their credit ratings are ruined for years. Linking the student loan interest rates to the interest rates the Federal Reserve charges to banks will relieve students of their debt burden, make college more affordable, and help the economy grow. If elected I will limit the interest rate on student debts to 1% above the rate the Federal Reserve charges to banks.
  • Deny loans and grants to failing for-profit institutions: The Department of Education has aggressively supported the closure of “failing PUBLIC schools” but has done nothing to penalize propriety schools who failed to graduate a majority of students, who willfully mislead applicants and misrepresent their graduation and job placement rates, and who made arrangements with lending institutions to offer undergraduates student loans from multiple servicers. This practice has damaged the credit ratings of tens of thousands of former students and cost taxpayers billions to bail out the banks whose loans were guaranteed. If elected I will deny federal loans and grants to for-profit post-secondary institutions who made bad loans and forfeit the loans students took out to attend those schools.
  • Provide grants to States to reduce the cost of public post-secondary education institutions. Public colleges are now collecting only 3% more revenue per student as they collected 25 years ago. Yet tuition costs are skyrocketing. Why? Because the federal government has shifted the costs for many federal programs to the states and drastically reduced federal funds. Because of this state tax burdens have increased and legislatures have responded by shifting the costs to post-secondary students by raising the tuitions of state-funded schools. This has the effect of leaving economically disadvantaged and minority students in the lurch, contributing to the inequality in our country and eroding our sense of community. EVERY child is entitled to have access to a high quality education and EVERY citizen should share in that cost. To make the cost of post-secondary education affordable I will establish revenue sharing grants with states to help lower the cost of public post-secondary education.

How Can This Be Funded?

People ask me how we can possibly pay for these initiatives. Here’s the truth of the matter: The funds we need for education are being spent elsewhere. We must use dollars now going for wars and tax breaks for businesses to fund education for the next generation of Americans. We are paying billions of dollars a year for wars and we haven’t raised a dime to cover their costs. We are currently offering millions of dollars in tax breaks to corporations and then allowing them to locate offices overseas to avoid paying income taxes. If we can raise billions for wars without raising taxes and allowing businesses to increase their profits, we should be able to raise billions for school districts to provide modern facilities, modern technology, high-speed internet connections, and MOST OF ALL, well qualified and highly dedicated teachers.  

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