I’m making this pledge to you: In my administration, the Secretary of Education will be a former public school teacher who is committed to public education.
Growing up, I knew I wanted to be a teacher.
I only started having that dream when my second-grade teacher, Mrs. Lee, told me it was possible and changed my whole world. That’s what a great teacher can do: make a mark that runs deep on a child’s life.
But that meant I’d need a college diploma. Our family didn’t have the money to pay for it. But I didn’t give up on my dream.
There were lots of bumps and wrong turns along the way, but I got my second chance at a public commuter college that cost $50 a semester and opened a million doors for me.
I got my degree and I got to live my dream: I became a teacher for students with special needs.
My story was only possible because America invested in kids. That just isn’t true today. But I’ve got a plan to make sure we build a future with opportunity forallof our kids.
First, we need to make sure the Department of Education actually works for our students and our educators.
I’ll just be blunt: Betsy DeVos is the worst Secretary of Education we’ve seen. She and her team are up to their eyeballs in conflicts of interest. Instead of championing our students, they protect for-profit colleges that break the law and cheat them.
So I’m making this pledge to you: In my administration, the Secretary of Education will be a former public school teacher who is committed to public education.
Let’s get a person with real teaching experience. A person who understands how low pay, tattered textbooks, and crumbling classrooms hurt studentsandeducators. A person who understands the crushing burden of student debt on students and young professionals and who is committed to actually doing something about it.
And our teachers are being crushed right now. Too many have to work another job to make ends meet, are weighed down by student debt, and struggle to teach on shoestring budgets and insulting salaries.
When we fail our teachers, we fail our students — and we fail our future.
Now, this problem is bigger than Betsy DeVos — she’s the symptom of a badly broken system. We’re up against powerful forces, and to win, we need big, structural change.
I’ve got a plan for exactly that.
Let’s pass my Ultra-Millionaire Tax and use the money to invest in Universal Child Care and pre-K for all kids.
Let’s use some of that new revenue to raise salaries for all our pre-school teachers to professional level wages — make them a part of the K-12 teaching corp.
Let’s use more of it to cancel student loan debt for 95 percent of people who have it.
Let’s make it easier to join a union. Unions give teachers — and firefighters, sheet-metal workers, steelworkers, working people across this country — more power over the long run. That’s good for teachers, good for students, and good for making sure we put the resources we need directly into our schools.
It’s that straightforward: Get the right leadership, invest in our kids, and invest in our teachers.