Julián Castro on Monday laid out a sweeping education plan, calling for everything from universal pre-K to free college and teacher raises.
The Texan and former Cabinet member is pitching the proposal as “the first comprehensive education plan” laid out by anyone in the crowded 2020 field.
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“We have failed to adequately invest in our students, teachers and schools … affecting lower-income communities and students of color,” Castro, secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration, said in a statement, saying his plan “calls for a sweeping new approach and commitment — one that supports students from pre-K to college and beyond.”
“Education policy doesn’t exist in silos, and I’m proud to put forward the first comprehensive education plan to invest in our students holistically and keep our nation competitive in the years to come,” he said.
How does it work?
The plan touches on one of Castro’s biggest legacies from his time as San Antonio mayor, when he led the creation of a citywide pre-K program. Castro wants to take that national, creating a federal grant to state and local governments so they can start early education programs.
Castro’s plan includes a federal tax credit to gives teachers a raise of up to $10,000 per year, based on how many students in the schools where they teach qualify for free or reduced lunch. It would also would pour $150 billion into school infrastructure.
The plan also calls to eliminate tuition at all public colleges and universities and includes student loan reform that delays repayment until borrowers’ income is at least 250 percent above the federal poverty line. They would then pay just 10 percent of their salary. His plan would also end public support for for-profit colleges.
Castro’s plan also includes proposals meant to close racial, gender and income gaps, including calls to reform student discipline to end the school-to-prison pipeline, overhaul rules for schools handling allegations of sexual misconduct and expand affordable housing in high opportunity areas to combat racial segregation in schools.
Castro’s plan does not explain how his many proposals would be funded.
What have other Democrats proposed?
Castro’s proposal brings him in line with some other Democrats, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who have drawn attention with bold proposals for free college, widespread student debt cancellation and major federal investments to boost teacher pay. But it puts it all together and takes a broader approach than most others have offered, making a slew of proposals from early education through college.