High-Quality Public Education – Pre-K to UniversityEvery young person must have the right to high-quality, free public education from preschool through college. Public education must be controlled by the public — not by corporations — and not by charter school hucksters who take public subsidies without assuming the responsibility to educate all kids, regardless of special needs.
This requires that every community, in partnership with the Federal Government must have the financing necessary to strengthen public schools, providing the necessary basics – preschool, smaller classes, summer and after-school programs, and skilled, well-paid teachers with rights on the job. College education or skills training should be available without tuition at all public universities as a right of civic membership — as was the policy in many states in the 1950s and 1960s. Education should be a public good that benefits all of society, not a commodity that indentures students to debt. We call for a national student debt jubilee that will forgive the debt burden imposed upon several generations seeking an education. Free college and debt forgiveness will not only allow students and former students to live their lives without that burden, but it will also stimulate economic growth and unleash new civic activism.
- 71% of adults favor making public 2- and 4- year college tuition-free for all households. (Demos, 2018)
- 78% of Americans, including 86% of African Americans, 84% of Latinos, and 90% of young voters, support proposals that a public 2 or 4 year college without debt. (Demos, 2018)
- 83% of adults believe that students be able to work their way through college, but only 21% say someone like themselves would be likely to be able to graduate without debt. (Demos, 2018)
- “Voters across the country overwhelmingly support policies that allow student loan borrowers to refinance their loans (91% in favor), enroll into affordable payment options based on income (90% in favor), and have their debt forgiven after 10 years of payments if they work in qualifying public service jobs or non-profit organizations (70% in favor).” (CRL/AFR Poll, 2017)
- According to a recent survey by Pew Research, 72 percent of the American public rank education as a top priority for the country, behind only one other issue, terrorism, and ahead of the economy and healthcare.
- In a 2016 Gallup survey, “the majority of Americans back free early childhood education: 59 percent favor it and 26 percent are opposed. Just 36 percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican favor it, compared with 81 percent of Democrats and independents who lean Democratic. Free college tuition is the more controversial with only 47 percent supporting it and 45 percent opposed. Majorities of 18- to 34-year-olds (63 percent), those in lower-income households (61 percent), those without a college degree (52 percent) and Democrats (67 percent) agree with the [free college] proposal.
- 69% of Americans would vote for a candidate who “would spend government money to establish federal and state programs making high-quality preschools available to every child in America.” (Gallup, 2014)
- 49% of Americans say they would NOT send their children to a school run by a private company. (5% were unsure, 32% would consider it, and 14% would definitely do it). (CBS Poll, 2009)
- 2017 PDK poll indicates increased support for traditional public education (while Trump and Devos continue to denounce them and push their own private alternatives). “52 percent of Americans oppose using public funds to send students to private school and opposition rises to 61 percent when the issue is described in more detail.”
- 72 percent of voters in the deep red state of Oklahoma, where teacher’s pay is near the bottom among U.S. states, supported the walkout (CBPP poll, 2018)
- A 2018 CBS News pollfrom March found that 68 percent of Americans believe that teachers in their community are paid too little.
- 87% of public school parents say cutting local school budgets is a serious concern, including 62% who say it is a very serious concern. (Hart Research, 2017)