Education: From Pre-K to Post-College

Here are Hillary's comprehensive views and plans on how to improve early childhood and K-12 education, in addition to making college debt-free and manageable. Her ideas validate our concerns about access and equity. All content is directly copied from hillaryclinton.com/issues.

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Early Childhood Education

I believe getting off to a good start should be our children’s birthright, part of the basic bargain that we have with each other as a nation. Every child should have the tools and the skills to thrive in tomorrow’s economy, especially those kids from our most vulnerable and at-risk communities.
— Hillary, June 15, 2015

Expanding early childhood education has been close to Hillary Clinton’s heart throughout her career. As first lady of Arkansas, she introduced the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) program, which helps parents teach their children at home before they begin kindergarten. As a U.S. senator, she called for a national initiative to help establish high-quality pre-K programs, including providing pre-K at no cost to children from low-income homes and homes with limited English speaking. As president, Hillary will continue to fight to give every child access to a quality education, starting with our youngest learners.

As president, Hillary will:

  • Make preschool universal for every 4-year-old in America. Despite research showing its benefits, only about half of the roughly 8.1 million 3- and 4-year-olds in the United States are enrolled in preschool, with only one in four enrolled in publicly funded preschool. Hillary believes that every child deserves the same strong start. That’s why she will work to ensure that every 4-year-old in America has access to high-quality preschool in the next 10 years.
  • Significantly increase child care investments so that no family in America has to pay more than 10 percent of its income to afford high-quality child care. The cost of child care has increased by nearly 25 percent during the past decade, while the wages of working families have stagnated. While families across America are stretched by skyrocketing costs, child care has become more important than ever before—both as a critical work support for the changing structure of American families and as an essential component of a child’s early development. These high costs severely squeeze working families, prevent too many children from getting a healthy start, and act as a disincentive for parents to stay in the workforce. Hillary will fight for every family in America to have access to high quality, affordable child care by significantly increasing the federal government’s investment in child care subsidies and providing tax relief for the cost of child care to working families.
  • Improve the quality of child care and early learning by giving a RAISE to America’s child care workforce. One of the key drivers of high-quality child care is a supported and effective child care workforce. Yet, despite the high cost of child care, too many workers are not receiving a living wage, which fuels turnover and undermines the quality of care—and also causes many of those caring for and educating our children to live in poverty themselves. To increase the quality of child care in America and pay child care workers for the true value of their work, Hillary will create the Respect and Increased Salaries for Early Childhood Educators (RAISE) initiative. In line with Clinton’s Care Workers Initiative, RAISE will fund and support states and local communities that work to increase the compensation of child care providers and early educators and provide equity with kindergarten teachers by investing in educational opportunities, career ladders, and professional salaries.
  • Double our investment in Early Head Start and the Early Head Start–Child Care Partnership program. Early Head Start provides comprehensive services to our youngest learners and their families—including health, nutrition, and pre-literacy support with a strong focus on children’s social and emotional development. The Early Head Start–Child Care Partnership program brings Early Head Start’s evidence-based curriculum into the child care setting to provide comprehensive, full-day, high-quality services to low-income families. To ensure our children have a strong foundation to learn, Hillary will double the number of children served by Early Head Start and the Early Head Start–Child Care Partnership program.
  • Expand access to evidence-based home visiting programs. There is increasing scientific evidence that brain development in the earliest years of childhood is crucial to economic success. That’s why Hillary will double our investment in home visiting programs such as the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. These programs—which provide home visits by a social worker or nurse during and directly after pregnancy—significantly improve maternal and child health, development, and learning.
  • Award scholarships of up to $1,500 per year to help as many as 1 million student parents afford high-quality child care. More than 25 percent of all college students are balancing school with raising a child. We should support them, not only because the economic benefit of a college degree lifts their own earning prospects, but also because it lifts the future earnings of their children too. To support America’s student parents, Hillary will launch the Student Parents in America Raising Kids (SPARK) program. SPARK will award scholarships of up to $1,500 per year to as many as 1 million student parents. Recipients can use the awards for costs that create barriers to success—including child care and emergency financial aid.
  • Increase access to high-quality child care on college campuses by serving an additional 250,000 children. Student parents face many challenges, with greater financial and time constraints than many of their peers. College students who are parents leave school with an average debt that is 25 percent higher than non-parents. The demands of parenting mean that student parents spend two hours less on average per day on educational activities. And while nearly half of student parents attend two-year colleges, less than half of all two-year college campuses in America offer on-campus child care services. Student parents need our support. Hillary will work to dramatically increase access to child care on campus by increasing funding for campus-based child care centers.

Read the fact sheet

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K-12 Education

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Education should be the great door opener, and yet we know it often doesn’t turn out that way. I think every child in this country deserves a good teacher in a good school, regardless of the ZIP code you live in.
— Hillary, March 10, 2016

Hillary Clinton believes that every child, no matter his or her background, should be guaranteed a high-quality education. That’s why she has been working to improve and support our public schools for decades, but our work isn’t done. Hillary will ensure that every child can fulfill his or her God-given potential.

As president, Hillary will:

  • Launch a national campaign to modernize and elevate the profession of teaching. America is asking more of our educators than ever before. They are preparing our kids for a competitive economy, staying on top of new pedagogies, and filling gaps that we as a country have neglected—like giving low-income kids, English-language learners, and kids with disabilities the support they need to thrive. We ask so much of our educators, but we aren’t setting them up for success. That’s why Hillary will launch a national campaign to elevate and modernize the teaching profession, by preparing, supporting, and paying every child’s teacher as if the future of our country is in their hands—because it is.
  • Provide every student in America an opportunity to learn computer science. There are more than half a million open jobs that require computing skills—across the country and in every major industry. But the majority of schools in the United States don’t offer computer science. Hillary will provide states and school districts funding to help scale computer science instruction and lesson programs that improve student achievement or increase college enrollment and completion in CS Ed fields.
  • Rebuild America’s schools. In cities and rural communities across America, there are public schools that are falling apart—schools where students are learning in classrooms with rodents and mold. That’s unacceptable, and it has to change. That’s why Hillary will build on the highly successful Build America Bonds program to provide cities and towns the capital they need to rebuild their schools. These “Modernize Every School Bonds” will double the Build America Bonds subsidy for efforts to fix and modernize America’s classrooms—from increasing energy efficiency and tackling asbestos to upgrading science labs and high-speed broadband.
  • Dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. Schools should be safe places for students to learn and grow. But in too many communities, student discipline is overly harsh—and these harsh measures disproportionately affect African American students and those with the greatest economic, social, and academic needs. Hillary will work to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by providing $2 billion in support to schools to reform overly punitive disciplinary policies, calling on states to reform school disturbance laws, and encouraging states to use federal education funding to implement social and emotional support interventions.

Hillary has been working to improve and support our public schools for decades:

  • As a young law student working for Marian Wright Edelman, Hillary went undercover to investigate “segregation academies” in Alabama.
  • As first lady of Arkansas, she chaired the Arkansas Educational Standards Commission, fighting to raise academic standards, increase teacher salaries, and reduce class sizes.
  • As first lady of the United States, she chaired the first-ever convening on Hispanic children and youth, which focused on improving access to educational opportunities.
  • As a U.S. senator, she served on the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee, as a key member shaping the No Child Left Behind Act, with the hope that it would bring needed resources and real accountability to improve educational opportunities for our most disadvantaged students.

Read the fact sheet

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Making College Debt-Free and Taking On Student Debt

Hillary has a comprehensive plan to put higher education within reach for all Americans, and take on the crisis of student debt.

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Here’s what every student and family should expect under Hillary’s plan:

Costs won’t be a barrier

  • Every student should have the option to graduate from a public college or university in their state without taking on any student debt. By 2021, families with income up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities. And from the beginning, every student from a family making $85,000 a year or less will be able to go to an in-state four-year public college or university without paying tuition.
  • All community colleges will offer free tuition.
  • Everyone will do their part. States will have to step up and invest in higher education, and colleges and universities will be held accountable for the success of their students and for controlling tuition costs.
  • A $25 billion fund will support historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and other minority-serving institutions in building new ladders of opportunity for students. Read Hillary’s agenda to support HBCUs and minority-focused institutions here.
  • The one-quarter of all college students who are also parents will get the support they need and the resources they deserve. Read more about Hillary’s plan to support student parents here.

Read the fact sheet

Debt won’t hold you back

  • Borrowers will be able to refinance loans at current rates, providing debt relief to an estimated 25 million people. They’ll never have to pay back more than 10 percent of their income, and all remaining college debt will be forgiven after 20 years.
  • Delinquent borrowers and those in default will get help to protect their credit and get back on their feet.
  • To reduce the burden for future borrowers, Hillary will significantly cut interest rates so the government never profits from college student loans.
  • Hillary’s plan will crack down on predatory schools, lenders, and bill collectors.
  • A new payroll deduction portal for employers and employees will simplify the repayment process—and Hillary will explore more options to encourage employers to help pay down student debt.
  • Aspiring entrepreneurs will be able to defer their loans with no payments or interest for up to three years. Social entrepreneurs and those starting new enterprises in distressed communities will be eligible for up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness.
  • Hillary will take immediate executive action to offer a three-month moratorium on student loan payments to all federal loan borrowers. That will give every borrower a chance to consolidate their loans, sign up for income-based repayment plans, and take advantage of opportunities to reduce their monthly interest payments and fees.

Read the fact sheet

Fully paid for: This plan will be fully paid for by limiting certain tax expenditures for high-income taxpayers.

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