It is in our national interest to ensure that every child, regardless of their family’s wealth or the zip code they’re born in, has access to quality, affordable education. If we are going to continue to be the world’s leading economy throughout the 21st century, we have to be educating a workforce capable of executing 21st century jobs. Investments in our public schools, our teachers and school staff are investments in our future.
Not all Americans go to college, but we all go to first grade. That’s why as your Congressman I will strongly advocate for universal pre-kindergarten. Many studies show that investments in pre-k education return $2 to nearly $4 in economic benefits for every dollar of cost, and conservative Oklahoma has adopted a pre-k system that is recognized as one of the best in the country.
We also need to invest in vocational programs. Associates degrees and certificates from institutions like the Texas State Technical College in Waco can lead to secure, high-paying union jobs.
Millions of Americans are struggling with student loans. The cost of tuition has increased by as much as 400+% over the last twenty five years, and the total amount of student debt has risen to over $1.5 trillion – more than total credit card debt. More than half of Texas graduates have debt – an average of $27,000 each. This inhibits their ability to fully participate in the economy. We must reduce the overall student loan burden by:
- Lowering interest rates on student loans – the federal government should not be profiting from student debt
- Expanding service based loan forgiveness programs to encourage to work or establish businesses in rural areas or with underprivileged groups.
- Publishing statistics on all institutions (public, private, and for-profit) on loan default rates and employment placement success to give students and families the information they need to make decisions.
- The hardest hit population is students who took on debt, but did not complete their degree. We must establish a process to forgive or reduce their outstanding debt or help them complete their degree.
- Allowing student loan debt to be discharged through bankruptcy so that lenders will have to negotiate in good faith with borrowers to find workable repayment options.