Education in Election 2012: Higher Education

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This post is part of this week’s “Education in Election 2012” series, exploring the differences between the parties and presidential candidates on education policy.

Today, we’ll take a look at where the presidential campaigns and parties stand–in their own words–on how to improve college costs and accessibility:

President Barack Obama:

  • Set a goal to cut tuition growth in half over the next decade with a plan to expand student aid and work with states and colleges to keep tuition growth down
  • Capped repayments on federal student loans at 10% of income – see how the President’s plan is helping students afford college
  • Established the American Opportunity Tax Credit which helped 9.4 million students and families in 2011 afford higher education and doubled funding for Pell Grants so more Americans can afford college
  • Invested $2 billion in community colleges and proposed forging new partnerships between community colleges and employers to train 2 million workers for jobs that already exist

Governor Mitt Romney:

America’s traditional community and four-year colleges are the heart of our nation’s higher education system.  However, a flood of federal dollars is driving up tuition and burdening too many young Americans with substantial debt and too few opportunities.  Meanwhile, other models of advanced skills training are becoming ever more important to success in the American economy, and new educational institutions will be required to fill those roles. Mitt’s reforms spur the access, affordability, innovation, and transparency needed to address all of these challenges:

  • Strengthen And Simplify The Financial Aid System.
  • Welcome Private Sector Participation Instead Of Pushing It Away.
  • Replace Burdensome Regulation With Innovation And Competition.

Republican Party Platform:

College costs, however, are on an unsustainable trajectory, rising year by year far ahead of overall inflation. Nationwide, student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt, roughly $23,300 for each of the 35,000,000 debtors, taking years to pay off. Over 50 percent of recent college grads are unemployed or underemployed, working at jobs for which their expensive educations gave them no training. It is time to get back to basics and to higher education programs directly related to job opportunities.

The first step is to acknowledge the need for change when the status quo is not working. New systems of learning are needed to compete with traditional four-year colleges: expanded community colleges and technical institutions, private training schools, online universities, life-long learning, and work-based learning in the private sector. New models for acquiring advanced skills will be ever more important in the rapidly changing economy of the twenty-first century, especially in science, technology, engineering, and math. Public policy should advance the affordability, innovation, and transparency needed to address all these challenges and to make accessible to everyone the emerging alternatives, with their lower cost degrees, to traditional college attendance.

Federal student aid is on an unsustainable path, and efforts should be taken to provide families with greater transparency and the information they need to make prudent choices about a student’s future: completion rates, repayment rates, future earnings, and other factors that may affect their decisions. The federal government should not be in the business of originating student loans; however, it should serve as an insurance guarantor for the private sector as they offer loans to students. Private sector participation in student financing should be welcomed. Any regulation that drives tuition costs higher must be reevaluated to balance its worth against its negative impact on students and their parents.

…Ideological bias is deeply entrenched within the current university system. Whatever the solution in private institutions may be, in State institutions the trustees have a responsibility to the public to ensure that their enormous investment is not abused for political indoctrination. We call on State officials to ensure that our public colleges and universities be places of learning and the exchange of ideas, not zones of intellectual intolerance favoring the Left.

Democratic Party Platform:

To help keep college within reach for every student, Democrats took on banks to reform our student loan program, saving more than $60 billion by removing the banks acting as middlemen so we can better and more directly invest in students. To make college affordable for students of all backgrounds and confront the loan burden our students shoulder, we doubled our investment in Pell Grant scholarships and created the American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, and we’re creating avenues for students to manage their federal student loans so that their payments can be only 10 percent of what they make each month.

President Obama has pledged to encourage colleges to keep their costs down by reducing federal aid for those that do not, investing in colleges that keep tuition affordable and provide good value, doubling the number of work-study jobs available to students, and continuing to ensure that students have access to federal loans with reasonable interest rates.

We invested more than $2.5 billion in savings from reforming our student loan system to strengthen our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaska, Hawaiian Native Institutions, Asian American and Pacific Islander Institutions, and other Minority Serving Institutions. These schools play an important role in creating a diverse workforce, educating new teachers, and producing the next generation of STEM workers.

We Democrats also recognize the economic opportunities created by our nation’s community colleges.
That is why the President has invested in community colleges and called for additional partnerships between businesses and community colleges to train two million workers with the skills they need for good jobs waiting to be filled, and to support business-labor apprenticeship programs that provide skills and opportunity to thousands of Americans. The President also proposed to double key investments in science to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers, encourage private sector innovation, and prepare at least 100,000 math and science teachers over the next decade.

And to make this country a destination for global talent and ingenuity, we won’t deport deserving young people who are Americans in every way but on paper, and we will work to make it possible for foreign students earning advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to stay and help create jobs here at home.

Check back tomorrow for our final post in the Education in Election 2012 Series, when we’ll compare the candidates’ and parties’ positions on K-12 education.

Education in Election 2012: Serving Students with Disabilities

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This post is part of this week’s “Education in Election 2012” series, exploring the differences between the parties and presidential candidates on education policy.

Today, we’ll take a quick look at what the political parties and presidential candidates have done and what they plan on doing to better serve students with physical, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

The President has a “People with Disabilities for Obama” page on his campaign website that touts his administration’s accomplishments. Although Governor Romney has several group-specific pages, Governor Romney has none for individuals with disabilities. The only information I could find on the Governor’s website is a single line stating he believes that students with disabilities should be allowed to take their IDEA and TItle I funds to whichever school they choose, an extension of his and many Republicans’ belief in the value school voucher programs.

Here’s where the candidates and parties stand:

President Barack Obama:

President Obama is committed to making sure our country values the contributions of every American—including the approximately 54 million people in this country living with disabilities. The President believes America prospers when we’re all in it together; when hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded; and when everyone from Wall Street to Main Street does their fair share and plays by the same rules

While we’ve come farther than ever when it comes to giving all people with disabilities a fair shot and a chance to succeed, the President knows how much more work we still have left and is committed to building on the progress we’ve made. Download this fact sheet to learn more.

1. Improving Access to Healthcare and Education

  • Putting health care within reach: President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act to stop insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions or disabilities. The Affordable Care Act also expands Medicaid coverage for people with disabilities.
  • Strengthening schools: President Obama understands that education is an economic imperative that should be within reach of every child. That’s why he increased funding for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) state grants and other critical IDEA programs to ensure that young adults with disabilities receive the education and training that they need to compete for jobs and lead their communities. The President will work to ensure that students with disabilities are included in all aspects of our nation’s education law, including appropriately measuring achievement gaps and working to close them so every child is on track to succeed. The administration also strengthened the early intervention program under Part C of the IDEA to help improve services and outcomes for America’s infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.

2. Promoting Innovation

  • Building a new era of technology: In July of 2010, the President signed the 21st Century Communications and Video Access Act, improving internet accessibility for the deaf and visually impaired communities.

3. Creating a Safer Country

  • President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, expanding the law to include protections against violence motivated by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

4. Supporting Fair Employment

  • Hiring veterans: The President signed the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, doubling tax breaks for businesses that hire unemployed veterans with disabilities related to their service.
  • Reaching out to workers: The President signed an executive order requiring Executive Branch departments and agencies to improve their efforts to employ workers with disabilities.
  • Including all Americans: Under President Obama, the Department of Labor proposed new standards that would require require companies with federal contracts to set a goal of creating a workforce that includes at least 7 % people with disabilities.

Governor Mitt Romney:

K-12: Promoting Choice And Innovation
Giving students trapped in bad schools a genuine alternative requires four things: (1) such alternatives must exist, (2) parents must receive clear information about the performance of their current school and of the alternatives, (3) students must be allowed to move to a new school, and (4) students must bring funding with them so that new schools can afford to serve them.  Mitt’s reforms achieve each of these objectives:

  • Allow Low Income And Special Needs Students To Choose Which School To Attend By Making Title I and IDEA Funds Portable

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Education in Election 2012: An Overview

http://shark-tank.net/2013/08/27/questionable-groups-push-to-open-floridas-closed-primary-elections/vote-2/

This post is part of this week’s “Education in Election 2012” series, exploring the differences between the parties and presidential candidates on education policy.

President Obama and Governor Romney recognize the special emphasis many voters place on education. Parents seek a hopeful future that is abound with opportunities for their kids, not to mention the last presidential election was one of the highest turnout elections for young people in American history.

Obama and Romney each have a special section on their websites about education and have spoken extensively about K-12 and higher education on the campaign trail. In addition, each of the candidates’ party platforms outlines the policies they believe would improve America’s classrooms.

Here’s a quick overview of where the candidates stand on education–in their own words:

Barack Obama:

President Obama’s plan for winning the future begins with education: strengthen public schools in every community, prevent teacher layoffs, expand Race to the Top, and flexibility for states to craft local solutions.

The President wants the United States to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

Through student loan reform, tax credits, and spurring states to strengthen K-12 programs, the President is taking us forward.

Mitt Romney:

As president, Mitt Romney will pursue genuine education reform that puts the interests of parents and students ahead of special interests and provides a chance for every child.

He will take the unprecedented step of tying federal funds directly to dramatic reforms that expand parental choice, invest in innovation, and reward teachers for their results instead of their tenure.

These policies will equip state leaders to achieve the change that can only come from commitment and action at the local level.

He will also ensure that students have diverse and affordable options for higher education to give them the skills they need to succeed after graduation and that, when they graduate, they can find jobs that provide a rewarding return on their educational investment.

If you’d like to take a more comprehensive look at the candidates’ and parties’ platforms, you can find additional information below:

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Please check back tomorrow for a comprehensive post comparing the candidates’ and parties’ positions on serving students with disabilities.

  • Wednesday: Serving Students with Disabilities
  • Thursday: Higher Education
  • Friday: K-12 Education