2020 Democratic White House hopeful Elizabeth Warren unveiled new plans for K-12 education this week as the she joined the picket line with more than 32,000 striking teachers in Chicago on Tuesday.
In the plan, referred to as “A Great Public School Education for Every Student,” Warren calls for an end to the privatization of public schools and to end federal funding for new charter schools. Warren also wants to implement a federal ban on for-profit charter schools.
“It’s time to live up to the promise of a high-quality public education for every student,” Warren wrote on Twitter announcing her latest proposal.
“My plan makes big, structural changes that would help give every student the resources that they need to thrive.”
It's time to live up to the promise of a high-quality public education for every student. My plan makes big, structural changes that would help give every student the resources that they need to thrive.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 21, 2019
In 2004 however, Warren once argued in favor of school voucher programs.
“Fully funded vouchers would relieve parents from the terrible choice of leaving their kids in lousy schools or bankrupting themselves to escape those schools,” Warren wrote in her book, “The Two Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke.”
In the proposal, Warren draws on her background as a public-school teacher in Oklahoma and touts her experience as a product of public education. Warren frequently claims to have been fired from her job as a special education teacher because she was “visibly pregnant,” though records uncovered by the Washington Free Beacon contradict those claims. Despite the correction, Warren has stood by her story and continues to claim she was fired from her teaching job for being pregnant.
In her plan, Warren also pledges to replace U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos with someone who has experience working as a public-school teacher, a promise Warren has been repeating on the campaign trail since May.
The Massachusetts senator and presidential frontrunner also wants to inject an additional $800 billion into public education that includes higher teacher salaries, the paying off of teacher student debt, and enhanced infrastructure paid for by higher taxes on the wealthy, though the new revenue streams Warren proposes are unlikely to cover the costs of her expensive plans.
Mary Clare Amselem, an education expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation argues that throwing more money at the current system will not solve anything.
“History has shown us that more funding is not the answer,” Amselem said, adding that while the federal government has been pouring billions of dollars into education for decades, the country “hasn’t seen the needle move at all in terms of student learning.”
Amselem notes that test scores and the achievement gap have both remained stagnant despite high levels of funding.
“More money is more of the same and it only stands to hurt the American taxpayers,” Amselem said.
In addition to paying down student debt for teachers, Warren wants to cancel all student lunch debt and provide federal funding for free breakfast and lunch for students. Warren’s plan also includes reforms to move away from standardized testing.