Education is not only a gateway to a better job, but also to a more empowered life. Good universal education is essential to a democracy because it gives the tools to all citizens to think, and to act, with the power that is necessary for self-governance.

Without trained minds, we are less prepared for engaged citizenship. A more conscious sense of citizenship is imperative if we’re to right the ship of our democracy. Democracy bestows more than rights; it bestows responsibilities as well: the responsibility to understand what is happening to our country, to make carefully considered decisions regarding who we elect to represent us. Education gives us a greater ability to direct our own lives, and also to help direct the fate of our nation.

Education is a form of empowerment, while under-education is a form of lock-out.

Yet, many of our children are still being locked out and under-education is a form of oppression. Our country is the only country that funds our public education through property taxes, ensuring that children from poorer neighborhoods receive a poorer education, thus deepening the roots of wealth inequality.

Many of our American children go each day to schools that do not have functioning toilets, and which lack the minimum school supplies necessary to teach a child to read. A child who cannot read by the age of eight is less likely to graduate from high school and more likely to one day be incarcerated. This is more than an “educational issue.” It is a humanitarian crisis. In the richest country in the world.

APPROACHES TO STUDENT LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT

Even though our children are citizens of the United States, because many of them do not vote, they lack any representation in our government. And because they do not work, they lack any financial leverage as well. And even today, our children are treated more like the property of adults than as fully empowered United States citizens. 

With our children not being recognized as equal human beings, we’ve become a nation where our children aren’t being provided the proper education they should have; where our children aren’t attending properly funded schools with functioning toilets, working facilities and adequate school supplies; where our children aren’t receiving the best education and care because their teachers are busy worrying about how to make ends meet or they’re tired and less focused because they’re required to work other jobs on top of being a full-time teacher. All of this must stop. 

Love isn’t just a word. Love looks like something, and requires some action. 

If we love our children, then our actions must show it. 

Thus, universal quality education for our children must start in pre-school and extend through all colleges, universities, and technical/trade schools. It should be available to all of our people, in every neighborhood in America. That means free pre-school. That means free public school higher education. That means canceling current student debt and making big reforms to the student loan programs, payment plans and rates that we currently have while also putting in place legislation that protects our students from predatory, unconscionable and impractical student loan practices, plans and rates. 

Roughly every 100 years, the United States expands its public education system to match its increasingly advanced economy. And now, it’s time to expand our national education system to include tuition-free public college and trade school. In fact, we’ve had this system before: The University of California system offered free tuition at its schools until the 1980s.

We need to honor our children and ensure a bright future for the generations after us. 

The high cost of higher education is putting college out of the reach for many students unless their parents are wealthy. With a graduate leaving school anywhere from $10,000 - $250,000 in debt, our student loans now total over $1.5 trillion. And then on top of this, we let our government officials, like our current congressman, Jimmy Gomez, pocket money from these student loan debt collectors? Isn’t this crazy? Why do we keep on electing officials who have no interest in investing in our children and future generations? It’s no wonder, then, that student loans are the only loans and form of debt that you cannot discharge when filing for bankruptcy in America – because politicians like our current Congressman, Jimmy Gomez, take money from these corporate interests and are tainted. Our own politicians seem to support raising a generation of indentured servants who will spend decades - if not a lifetime – paying off banks, who then pay politicians like our current Congressman, Jimmy Gomez. I’m not lying. Go research and see who his campaign donors and financial supporters are (banks, pharmaceuticals, student loan debt collectors, big corporations). 

And in tandem with making public colleges tuition-free, I support a one-time policy of student debt cancellation, in which the federal government cancels the loans it holds directly and buys back the financing of privately owned loans on behalf of borrowers. This would help liberate generations of Americans who are trapped in student loan debt and currently held back from participating in the greater U.S. economy.

A policy of debt cancellation could boost real GDP by an average of $86 billion to $108 billion per year. And over one 10-year forecast, the policy generates between $861 billion and $1,083 billion in real GDP (2016 dollars).

The way to create a successful economy is by unleashing the creativity, power, potential and spirit of the American people, starting with those fresh out of school.

At the end of WW2, the GI Bill helped build America’s great middle class – the same middle class that has been decimated by corporate-driven economics over the last forty years. A GI Bill level of investment in educating America’s youth would help bring the middle class back.

 

  • I will fight for canceling all current student loan debt on a one-time basis
  • I will fight for providing free public higher education for all (i.e. 2-yr, 4-yr colleges, universities)
  • I will fight for extending federal student loan and tuition assistance programs to all forms of technical/trade school programs as well 
  • I will fight for extending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to all students and graduates who work at for-profit companies and entities as well, so that all of our students and graduates aren’t required to pay more than 10% of their annual income on student loans, and beyond 120 monthly payments
  • I will fight for legislation that regulates how much in interest rates our students and graduates can be charged by private lenders so that our students and graduates won’t be taken advantage of by excessively high, unrealistic interest rates
  • I will fight to make student loans dischargeable when filing for bankruptcy
  • I will fight for legislation that prevents our politicians, like our current Congressman Jimmy Gomez, from pocketing money from student loan debt collectors and banks
  • I will fight to eliminate the origination fee on federal student loans as well as the annual caps on federally subsidized loans
  • I will fight for legislation that restricts student loan companies and debt collectors from engaging in predatory practices 
  • I will fight for universal pre-school for all children
  • I will fight to increase funding for free and reduced-price lunches, so that breakfasts are also included - it’s not only hard to learn when you’re hungry, but addressing hunger leads to addressing child poverty, another stain on our national character
  • I will fight for federal compensation for state school funding, allowing equal access to quality education for every child in our district
  • I will fight for a far more expansive array of educational approaches, including social and emotional learning; the development of conflict resolution skills; restorative justice (schools who implement such programs have seen up to a 65% reduction in violence and disorderly conduct); meditation and mindfulness; comparative religion (for the sake of spiritual enlightenment and to help ease religious strife); anti-bullying programs; and the fostering of other life skills to help prepare children for a meaningful life. We need a whole-person educational system that addresses the heart and soul as well as the intellect
  • I will fight to reform out of control testing as we need to reduce the amount of high-stakes testing required and the associated value added model that unfairly associates teacher and school performance with the results of those high-stakes tests
  • I will fight for legislation that provides more teacher training programs and teacher retention, along with investing in teacher education programs that provide best practices and developmentally appropriate models of education for our future teachers. Doing so means giving our teachers adequate preparation, support, leadership, autonomy and compensation (pay) that reflects their professional stature – we need to ensure that teachers face classrooms of a manageable size – and that means hiring more teachers overall. Student/Teacher ratios must shrink
  • I will fight for legislation that requires better management of education infrastructure. For example, buildings and buses are some of the largest budget items for public schools. There is no reason for buses to sit in a lot in between running kids to and from school, given society’s need for public transportation. Multi-purpose use for buses would improve communities and drive down school costs. The same can be said for school facilities – there are other community services that can be provided in those locations, safely and effectively
  • I will fight for legislation that supports further education and opportunities for our students who want to work in the trades or technical areas, and not the traditional liberal arts college experience as being the only option for higher education 
  • I will fight for low-cost education for those in middle and older age who have been dropped from our economy yet still retain, as all people do, the God-given potential to create meaning for themselves and others
  • I will fight to restrict the influence of corporate money on our education system and legislation, including laws regarding gun manufacturers and gun control law and safety
  • I will fight to push funding for and introduce mindfulness and counseling programs in all of our schools, from pre-K through higher education, so that we can also equip our children, students and graduates with the tools for self-sustenance and well-being. This way, they can equally care for their mental and emotional health while also ensuring more safety in our schools 
  • I will fight for legislation that ensures the safety of our children and students in school so they don’t have to worry about going to school each day, with the worry of being harmed for that’s when true learning and the spirit of our children and students can be unleashed at their greatest potential