Peter Koutoujian today convened a policy roundtable with students, parents, professors, and educators to announce his plan to improve our education system.
"Education is the one issue we can tackle that would also improve every other issue we face as a nation," said Koutoujian. "For every $1 we invest in early education our country sees more than $7 in returns later on in life. If we reduce inequity in education between different student groups we can move more children up the economic ladder. If we permanently fix interest rates on student loans at a reasonable level--instead of letting the market determine the number--students and families can make sound financial decisions as they save for college.
"The plan I am putting forward today proposes more funding for programs like Head Start, which provides pre-Kindergarten programming for more of our nation's children. It also ensures that schools and educators have both the resources and flexibility needed to provide students the educational programs they need from Kindergarten through 12th grade. It proposes more Pell Grants and permanently fixes interest rates on student loans at lower levels so that more students can earn more affordable degrees. And it creates pathways from the education system into the workforce so that our recent graduates can put their degrees to work and help build our economy from the middle out," added Koutoujian.
Today's announcement was the second in a series of five policy proposals for the Fifth District that Koutoujian is putting forward. Joined by current and former students, parents, professors, and educators, Koutoujian explained his plan then asked for their stories and thoughts.
"I earned the education I wanted, graduated with honors, and now I'm working two jobs that aren't in my field to pay off my loans," said Kathleen Kiely, a recent graduate. "Peter's plan will help students like me who struggle with their debts pay them off on a reasonable timeline so that we can put our degrees to work in the field we've been preparing to enter."
"My husband and I are just making it between life insurance, medical bills, and costs of living," said Davina Fankhauser, a parent of two. "It's next to impossible for us to make room to save for education. That's why Peter's plan for reducing and capping student loan rates is critical. He understands that if Congress lets the market determine the rates, families like mine fear they'll rise regardless of current levels."