Issue Position: Education
I believe that access to free and quality education is a basic human right. But the reality is a stark contrast to that ideal for far too many of us.
- Working parents don't have affordable and quality day care for their infants and toddlers.
- Our public schools are crippled by No Child Left Behind, which ties up the hands of school administrators, teachers and students by limiting them to stringent performance-based tests in order to receive federal funding. NCLB is also a recruiting tool for the U.S. military; it allows military recruiters into schools and permits the schools to administer the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, which is a military competence test. The result? Rather than preparing our children for higher education, NCLB seems geared toward privatizing poorly performing schools while funneling students directly to the military.
- Students who choose to attend universities and colleges are most often than not saddled with a lifetime of debt in the form of student loans.
My positions are simple.
Working parents should be entitled to safe and stimulating day care for their children. No Child Left Behind should be repealed, leaving school districts free to respond to the needs of their classrooms and communities. As it is in most industrialized nations, higher education should be free for those who quality for and want to take advantage of it. Until such a common-sense initiative can be instituted, students should have access to student loans with extremely low interest rates and manageable repayment terms. Also, we should institute apprenticeship programs and state and federal job training for individuals who want to lead productive lives but don't qualify for or desire higher education.