Plan will double match teacher pay raises, equalize educational resources and learning opportunities
(SAN FRANCISCO, CA, February 6, 2020) — Today, presidential candidate Tom Steyer announced his plan to provide a world-class education for all, by doubling education spending and investing in the students who need it most. Citing decades of underinvestment and inequities in opportunity for students of color and students from low-income families, Steyer’s plan targets education spending to equalize both learning resources and opportunities. The plan provides free, universal access to high quality preschool, charts a course for cutting the dropout rate in half by the end of Steyer’s first term, and compensates teachers as highly as skilled professionals by matching every additional dollar states and districts spend on raising teacher pay at a 2-to-1 ratio.
“Education is the cornerstone of a just, democratic, and prosperous society. For too long, we have underinvested in our children and legislated inequities into the system that rob American students of the skills needed to thrive as participants in our democracy, society, and economy,” said Steyer. “The smartest investment we as a society can make is in our people, and my plan will improve the quality of education every student receives regardless of zip code. Our collective prosperity is at stake here, but this is about more than just the economy – it’s also about the kind of society we want to live in. A robust democracy and a fair society demand that we act with urgency to fulfill the lost promise of our schools.”
Steyer’s plan is designed to root out the inequities that permeate the current education system, placing an emphasis on equalizing students’ access to proven contributors for success, including quality preschool and world-class educators. Steyer’s plan also addresses factors outside of school that can become hindrances to academic performance. The investments in the education system are designed to work in tandem with other major social investments and policy reforms that address child poverty, homelessness, access to health care, and the system of mass incarceration that keeps parents away from their children.
Steyer’s education plan will:
- Give teachers the pay and respect they deserve. Too many educators need to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. Steyer stands with the teachers unions that have gone on strike to fight for more school resources, better learning conditions and higher pay. In the White House, Steyer’s plan gives teachers a pay raise by matching 2 to 1, every dollar states and school districts spend on pay raises. Teachers deserve a salary commensurate with their experience and training.
- Implement free universal access to high-quality preschool. This will ensure all children are ready for kindergarten regardless of their families’ wealth or race. Steyer’s plan underscores this as an imperative step for our nation to close the achievement gap and provide equality of opportunity.
- Equalize access to a world-class education. Steyer’s plan will fund local initiatives that desegregate our schools and commit to an integrated school system. Since school districts are funded mainly by property taxes, he will work to equalize investment in public schools by tripling Title 1 funding to low-income students and invest in upgrading our school facilities.
- Cut the dropout rate in half by the end of his first term. He will address out-of-school barriers, such as child poverty, that hold students back. He will improve instructional quality and outcomes, require states to identify a plan to raise rates, and provide tutors to struggling students.
- Expand apprenticeships and workforce credentials in high school. This will ensure every graduate has a pathway to success, even if they do not go to college. This also means improving science, technology, engineering and math education to prepare students for the innovation economy.
- Freeze charter school expansion and increase accountability. The way to fix our public education system is not by working around it through charter schools or school vouchers, but by dealing directly with the challenges such as funding disparities and segregation. Steyer’s plan would follow the NAACP’s recommendation to ban for-profit charter schools, and freeze federal funding for new non-profit charter schools. Under a Steyer administration, existing non-profit charter schools would be held to the same standards as traditional public schools.