K-12 School Equity
A robust public-school system is necessary for the training of our future leaders for the betterment of the nation. Without the best public schools, the United States will not have the innovative workforce we need to be competitive through the 21st Century. Friends of Intelligent Democracy supports:
- ● Using a combination of federal and state funds for public education to support school districts with lower tax bases in an effort to equalize spending per student across school districts.
- ● Using the Department of Education, not for-profit companies, to ensure equal opportunity to a politically informed, effective education that encourages independence, innovation, and success.
- ● Increasing access to trained mental health professionals and social workers for students in the K-12 education system.
- ● Reducing the emphasis on standardized testing that puts unnecessary stress on students and teachers and is used to expand the equity gap between privileged and underserved communities.
- ● Reducing the power of local and state school boards that allow parental bias and beliefs to trump the needs of students.
- ● Adjusting starting and ending times of the school day to prioritize the physical and mental health of students already facing the pressure of going to school.
- ● Strengthening the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program to provide universal breakfast and lunch meals to every public-school student regardless of means testing using a combination of local, state, and federal funding.
- ● Canceling all existing student lunch debt.
- ● Increasing access to certified online schooling options that allow for a better educational experience for some students.
- ● Banning charter schools and redirecting federal and state funds for charter schools into public schools.
K-12 Curriculum Reform
The United States has been falling behind for years in terms of academic performance and curriculum quality. This issue is not the fault of students or teachers, but the result of government mismanagement and ignorant politics that hinder student growth and development. Friends of Intelligent Democracy supports:
- ● Ending the use of Common Core and replacing it with a curriculum written by the Department of Education that emphasizes understanding learning material rather than regurgitating information for a standardized test.
- ● Writing new national reading, writing, and math standards that prepare students for the changing landscape of the modern world.
- ● Removing creationism and pseudoscience from the curriculum at schools that receive taxpayer funding from local, state, or federal government sources.
- ●Banning abstinence-only sex education and requiring sex education starting in 5th grade that teaches sexual anatomy, the principles of safe sex and STI/STD prevention, LGBTQ+ sex practices, consent, birth control and abortion, and sex positivity.
- ● Requiring students to take some form of personal finance and civics classes that provide students with the tools and understanding to graduate as adults that understand how their relationship with the government and finance system.
- ● Expanding gifted student programs so students of all levels of understanding can learn in a space that maximizes their potential.
- ● Incorporating study skills courses into students’ educational experience so students do not need expensive tutors or programs in order to be successful learners.
- ●Requiring school curriculum to include accurate information on racial inequities and curriculum covering the mistreatment of slaves, what Juneteenth is, and how the end of slavery did not mean the end of racism.
- ● Adjusting graduation requirements that allow for students to have more flexibility in the courses they take during 11th and 12th grade in order to better prepare them for the higher education option they want to pursue.
Today, 70% of high school graduates enroll in some form of higher education program. Access to higher education programs is typically barred by the increasing cost of attending universities across the country with an average debt balance of $29,800 and a nationwide student debt of $1.6 trillion. Continuing onto higher education not only requires money, but also the skills needed to be successful as a college student. Higher education has historically catered to whites who come from a middle to high socioeconomic class, while not creating a space at the table for people of color or low-income students. As we progress as a society, the make up of these institutions must change as well to reflect the diversity we see in our everyday life. Change must be brought onto college campuses to help minority, low-income, and first-generation students succeed in order to inspire more students of their background to attend college. Making college affordable and debt-free is essential to increasing economic growth, social mobility, and quality of life across generations of Americans. Friends of Intelligent Democracy supports:
- ● Making community college and trade school programs debt-free over two years to ensure that every high school graduate be provided with educational opportunities to pursue a variety of fields within the workforce.
- ● Reforming accreditation systems so that credits earned at community colleges and trade schools are easily transferable to four-year universities.
- ●Transitioning to a four-year university system over five years that allows students to attend in-state institutions without incurring student debt by creating a nationwide government service program. This service program would require students work a year for every year they attended university. Service projects would be specific to the major a student graduates with and these service projects would have the added benefit of helping students make connections in the field they plan to work in. Examples include using a STEM degree to assist a construction company on a Department of Transportation infrastructure project, teaching major-related classes in a K-12 school in coordination with the Department of Education and Teach for America, or working for local, state, and federal government agencies with a social sciences degree.
- ● Creating a “Commission to End Food Insecurity on College Campuses” managed by the Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would require that all universities that receive federal funding submit meal plans for certification that prevent food insecurity among college students.
- ● Providing free access to mental health professionals for students on college campuses to provide resources and counseling for students facing personal, family, academic, and health related issues.
- ●Promoting the rise of “guaranteed admissions agreements” and “articulation agreements”for transferring from community colleges to 4-year institutions to make higher education more accessible, particularly for lower-income students.
- ● Requiring well-funded diversity and inclusion programs at each college to ensure marginalized voices have a space to be heard.
- ● Providing more resources and one-on-one support for first-generation college students to help them succeed and adjust to college life.
- ● Canceling student loan debt through a variety of adjustments to the tax code determined by Congress and the President.
Equality For All