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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Chuck and Nancy Have a Plan

In USA Today, Chuck Shumer and Nancy Pelosi offer a “Democratic plan” for education:

Unfortunately, Republicans have been pushing federal and state education cuts to fund tax giveaways for the rich, resulting in fewer resources for schools and low teacher pay. That must end. How can we as a country better support teachers and school staff to match the critical work they are doing for our children? Democrats have put together a plan, with five main components to offer our nation’s teachers A Better Deal: ?First, we will dedicate $50 billion for states and school districts to increase teacher compensation and recruit and retain a strong, diverse workforce over the next 10 years. During the recession, public investment in K-12 schools declined dramatically. We should support states and school districts who want to reverse the trend and bolster teacher and school staff salaries. ?Second, we will establish a new $50 billion fund for school infrastructure and resources. Students and educators deserve 21st century classrooms and up-to-date educational technology and materials. We tell children that education is important and send them a different message by putting them in substandard schools. Improving our nation’s school infrastructure will help retain our best educators. ?Third, we will give additional support to initiatives that improve Title I schools serving low-income children, and ensure that all students have access to academic opportunities such as computer science, music and civics. We need to provide all students with a well-rounded education to get them ready for today’s changing economy. ?Fourth, we will protect teachers’ freedom to negotiate for better pay and conditions by safeguarding the right of public employees to join unions, collectively bargain, and engage in collective action to support each other. Currently, no federal law provides teachers and other public servants with collective bargaining rights. Democrats want to guarantee teachers the same freedoms that private sector workers have to negotiate collectively for a better deal. ?Fifth, we will work to meet our federal commitment to fund special education. When Congress first passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1975, the federal government promised to provide 40% of the excess costs of educating children with disabilities. We are not even close to that. Fulfilling our federal promise will not only help provide resources to students with disabilities, it also will improve the quality of education for all students. How do we propose to pay for all this? Simple. We’d revisit the Trump tax cuts for the top 1%. Instead of allowing millionaires, billionaires and massive corporations to keep their tax breaks and special-interest loopholes, Democrats would invest in teachers and students.

What do you think?

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