Democrat Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (pictured) says he will forgive 100 per cent of student loan debt for all public schoolteachers should he be elected.
Mr O’Rourke said debt forgiveness would be a way to recognise teachers’ dedication and allow them to concentrate fully on their work with their students.
“I want to make sure teachers can focus on that job, that child in front of them and not have to work a second or third job, as so many do,” Mr O’Rourke said at a forum organised by the National Education Association.
He also called for a massive influx of cash into the public school system, including a US$500 billion (A$710 billion) education fund aimed at decreasing disparities between majority-minority and majority-white school districts.
Other aspects of the education plan Mr O’Rourke announced at the forum included guaranteeing all teachers the right to organise, offering universal pre-kindergarten education, and increasing investment in historically black colleges and universities and minority education.
He also pledged that he would not allow any taxpayer dollars to be spent on school vouchers or private schools.
This proposal goes further than Mr O’Rourke’s previously announced education plans, which focused primarily on university affordability.
He said he would provide two years of debt-free public or community college education for all Americans.
The Federal Government currently offers a Public Service loan forgiveness program, but it has strict requirements limiting who can access it.
Only 864 of the more than 70,000 applicants for the program have been accepted, according to a March report from the Department of Education.
Meanwhile, the American Federation of Teachers had filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education, arguing that the loan forgiveness program is in such a shambles that it violates Federal law and the Constitution.
Washington, DC, 13 July 2019