Education funding, largely tied to local property taxes, is terribly inequitable: The average low income school district receives roughly 15% less state and local funding per pupil than the average wealthy school district. Educational outcomes should not depend on a child’s zip code, but so long as educational funding is chained to the property tax, we cannot hope to give most kids a fair shot at a bright future.
Our children deserve a world-class education. We can achieve that by building new schools, shrinking class sizes, and giving teachers, paraeducators and support staff the salaries they actually earn each and every day. We can’t expect the best from our kids unless and until we invest in them.
Right now, the youngest generation in the workforce is weighed down by an astronomical amount of student debt. Before they were even adults themselves, they were told the only way to make a living was to go to college. And with tuition raised exponentially since the prior generation, they only way for young people to go to college was to take out loans as teenagers – loans that they never would have been given in the first place if they were going to be used to buy a house, a car, or to start a business.
The only way our economy is going to keep moving forward is for student debt to be abolished. To prevent this catastrophe from being continued or recreated, we need to bring back free public higher education. This idea isn’t new, and it isn’t radical. Public universities used to be free or nearly free for in-state students, with tuition and fees representing only small token buy-ins from students. Today, many public colleges and universities have tuition and fees that total what a private school education would have been just a generation ago. By making public higher education free and ending student debt, we can spur economic growth for all generations and make education and achievement truly based on merit, not inheritance.