Led by Betsy DeVos, undoubtedly the most unqualified person ever to hold the office of Secretary of Education, our public education is under full assault by the Trump Administration with full support from the Republican controlled Congress.

DeVos is a leader in the effort to dismantle the public primary and secondary education systems in favor of charter and private schools.

 The intention is clear and that is so the wealthiest among us who already are sending their kids to private schools do not have to pay for the education of the kids that are not in their economic class.  

The best education is provided to those who can afford it while children from middle class and poor families will get a lower quality education making them less competitive with their wealthier counterparts.

The budget proposed by the Administration slashes federal funding to public schools and ends almost all aid to college students who cannot afford to attend without assistance. Federal funding for Preschool programs, Advanced Placement Classes and Physical Education will all be cut.  Where will the money come from to make up the budget shortfalls? State and local governments will have raise taxes to pay for it. That is the Republican tax shell game. Public education must be supported and fully funded at all levels of government. We need more and not fewer opportunities for kids to go to college if they have the academic aptitude.

The fact of the matter is, a high school diploma is not worth what it was twenty, thirty or even ten years ago. This is not because of the poor quality of public education as some would have us believe, but because our economy has become so technically advanced that some form of additional education or advanced technical training is required for our children to be competitive even for entry level jobs in most sectors. We must get past the propaganda of those wanting to dismantle the public school system for their own selfish interest and face the facts!  Up to two years of college or advanced technical training should be considered part of a public education and therefore tuition free. Our community college system can and should be greatly expanded to fill a significant portion of this role. Partnerships with business and private providers should be utilized for highly specialized training.  This is what our legislators should be focused on and not how they can divert our tax dollars  out of programs that give our kids a fair shot at the American dream and into the pockets of special interest and the super wealthy.

Crushing student loans should be completely or partially forgiven with the remainder eligible for refinancing at 0% interest depending on the loan amount and the borrowers income. We should also create programs that allow people to pay back a portion or all of their government insured student loan debt with meaningful public service. 

“How will we pay for all of this?” is a valid question.  At the federal level, we can cut partisan pork, special tax breaks given to multi-billion dollar companies and the super wealthy.  This isn’t something we should do it is something we must do for the economic future of our great nation. If our Representatives refuse or can’t figure out how to do it then it is time to vote them out and elect someone who can! 

I will not vote for a federal budget that does not provide Florida with its fair share of federal education dollars. We are the only donor state in the Southeast meaning we pay more in federal taxes than we get back from the federal government. It is time we stand up and fight for our fair share!