A Great Public School Education for Every Student.
I believe in America’s public schools. It’s time to give our schools the support they need to ensure that every student has access to a meaningful, high-quality public education. Add your name to support our plan for public education.
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 Americans.
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 receive.
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 our schools.
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 education system.
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.