American readers, we have our two major party nominees for President of the United States. Hillary Clinton made history by becoming the first woman to be nominated for presidency by a major party. Her nomination – bringing women who were first barred by law and then by custom, to the peak of the American political system – is cause for celebration. This moment is an inspirational one for young Americans and hopefully for young women in nations and cultures that, in like fashion of the United States, have been denied opportunities because of gender.
After watching both conventions, it strikes me that running for this office is most definitely an act of courage. Both candidates have endured (and will continue to endure) withering scrutiny of every past act and spoken word, not to mention the tone of their voice and even their clothing selection. Secretary Clinton’s pathway to the nomination has been incredibly challenging – I would venture to say more so than most nominees in America’s history. Needless to say, the next couple months will certainly be historical ones in American politics.
In similar fashion to my last post, here is a brief summary of the Democratic platform (the full platform is available here):
- Making Debt-Free College a Reality: Cost should not be a barrier to getting a degree or credential, and debt should not hold you back after you graduate. Bold new investments by the federal government, coupled with states reinvesting in higher education and colleges holding the line on costs, will ensure that Americans of all backgrounds will be prepared for the jobs and economy of the future.
- Providing Relief from Student Debt: “Democrats will allow those who currently have student debt to refinance their loans at the lowest rates possible. We will simplify and expand access to income-based repayment so that no student loan borrowers ever have to pay more than they can afford. And we will significantly cut interest rates for future undergraduates because we believe that making college more affordable is more important than the federal government making billions of dollars in profit off those loans.”
- Supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions: These schools educate disproportionate percentages of growing populations of Americans: students who are racial and ethnic minorities, low-income students, and first-generation students. Democrats will create a robust and historic dedicated fund to keep costs down, provide quality education, and ensure dedicated support to improve student outcomes and completion rates.
- Cracking Down on Predatory For-Profit Schools: “We will strengthen the gainful employment rule to ensure that for-profit schools enable students to complete their degrees and prepare them for work. We will go after for-profits that engage in deceptive marketing, fraud, and other illegal practices. We will also exercise our responsibility in oversight over the Department of Education to carry out their obligation to close down those for-profit schools that consistently engage in fraudulent and illegal conduct.”
- Guaranteeing Universal Preschool and Good Schools for Every Child: Democrats will invest in early childhood programs like Early Head Start and provide every family in America with access to high-quality childcare and high-quality preschool programs. “We believe that a strong public education system is an anchor of our democracy, a propeller of the economy, and the vehicle through which we help all children achieve their dreams. Public education must engage students to be critical thinkers and civic participants while addressing the wellbeing of the whole child. We are also deeply committed to ensuring that we strike a better balance on testing so that it informs, but does not drive, instruction.” Democrats are committed to providing parents with high-quality public school options and expanding these options for low-income youth. We support democratically governed, great neighborhood public schools and high-quality public charter schools, and we will help them disseminate best practices to other school leaders and educators.
Dr. Tim Van Soelen serves as the Director of CACE. Tim is also a professor of education at Dordt University. He has served as a principal, assistant principal, and middle school math and computer teacher at schools in South Dakota and California. Tim has his undergraduate degree from Dordt and advanced degrees from Azusa Pacific University and the University of South Dakota.