Nothing brings more revenue to the Treasury than an investment in our children’s education whether it is early childhood, K-12, higher education, post graduate, or lifetime learning. We must ensure that access to a high-quality education is the right of every student, not just the privileged few. House Democrats are working to expand educational opportunities for every student by strengthening our schools, expanding early childhood education initiatives, and modernizing our classrooms. At the same time, we must work to reduce the achievement gap, create opportunities for students to attain higher education, and make sure that we have the best trained, most qualified teachers in the world.
In strengthening our education system, we will create a thriving, 21st century workforce that will lead emerging industries and ensure America remains a leading economic power on the world stage.
WHAT DEMOCRATS ARE DOING
Early childhood learning programs have proven to be one of the most valuable investments in our children’s future, dramatically increasing their ability to succeed later in school and in life. House Democrats are dedicated to investing in teacher and classroom quality, focusing on school readiness, implementing universal pre-kindergarten programs, and making Head Start and Early Head Start available to more children.
- Investing in Head Start: For more than 40 years, the Head Start initiative has helped more than 20 million low-income children and families reach kindergarten ready to learn and succeed. House Democrats remain committed to strengthening Head Start and expanding access so more children and families can benefit from its comprehensive efforts to improve school readiness.
- Expanding and improving early learning opportunities: House Democrats introduced the Strong Start for America’s Children Act, a bold, 10-year federal-state partnership to support Head Start and other services for infants through four year olds, including strong parent and family engagement, nutrition, health care, and child care.
- Supporting affordable child care: As part of our “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” economic agenda for women and families, House Democrats are working to support and fund affordable quality child care, the linchpin of a working mother’s success in the workplace: children learning, parents earning.
Five decades after Brown v. Board of Education, we still do not offer all children the same educational opportunities. In addition to the achievement gap between low-income and minority children and their peers, American students suffer from a second kind of achievement gap when compared globally. Even in this period of shrinking federal, state and local budgets, we must work together to ensure that our classrooms are centers of academic excellence and to ensure a strong education is a right afforded to every student. House Democrats are committed to:
- Investing in STEM: Investments in STEM programs will support our students and teachers by providing them with the skills and resources needed to succeed by training a workforce ready to lead in clean energy, health care, and the innovative industries of tomorrow.
- Supporting our teachers: Studies show that teachers are the most important factor in determining the success of students. For teachers and school leaders, it is critical to increase access to the necessary tools to do their jobs and create working conditions that support student success, which includes providing much-needed resources, offering professional development, targeted training, and the time to collaborate with students and one another.
- Improve No Child Left Behind: There is a clear need to improve and strengthen NCLB to reflect current best educational practices, protect students’ rights, and guarantee a world-class education to all students regardless of background or zip code. Democrats want to see reform that:
- Ensures states set high-standards and goals to ensure students graduate from high school and college career ready.
- Provides states more flexibility to craft their own accountability systems while ensuring schools remain accountable for all students.
- Supports a professional environment for teachers and school leaders through modern, locally-driven evaluation systems.
- Provides additional resources and improves access to those resources to support much-needed school initiatives through economically difficult times.
Our nation’s colleges and universities are the centers of the groundbreaking research, innovation, and opportunity that give America’s students an opportunity to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, the skyrocketing cost of college is forcing many students and graduates to put their dreams on hold. The state of student loan debt in America is reaching crisis proportions, holding back our economy and weighing on the lives of a generation of young people. That is why House Democrats are not only fighting to expand higher education opportunities but to keep that higher education well within in reach for America’s middle class.
Under the Democratic Majorities, Congress acted to:
- Help students afford a higher education by increasing the maximum Pell Grant and creating the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides a maximum $2,500 tuition tax credit to eligible families and students.
- Assist graduates in paying back their loans by cutting interest rates in half on subsidized Stafford loans from 6.7% to 3.4%; by creating an income-based repayment program; and by providing loan forgiveness for graduates in public interest careers after ten years of payments.
- Help families and students find a good deal by creating a user-friendly website to compare costs, graduation rates, and popular majors.
- Require schools to have an online calculator so students and families could estimate their costs based on their financial situation and to offer an understandable financial aid disclosure form so students can better understand the aid for which they qualify.
- Eliminate taxpayer subsidies to banks and reinvest the savings back into students and create a single, secure, and efficient lender to originate all federal student loans
Democrats remain committed to providing high quality education to all of America’s students and creating a nation ready for the challenges of the 21st century by:
- Allowing Refinancing of Student Loans: Through the Bank On Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, House Democrats are working to allow federal and private student loan borrowers to refinance their loans at more affordable rates that will save them thousands of dollars.
- Protecting Pell Grants and College Accessibility: Budgets are a statement of values, and House Democrats continue to fight relentless Republican efforts to slash Pell Grants and other initiatives that help hardworking students of all backgrounds pursue their dreams in college.