Democrats share with all parents the commitment to prepare our children to lead lives of happiness and success. That’s why we’re dedicated to ensuring the next generation has access to a first-rate education and the tools to drive our economy forward. Our country is strongest when our workers are trained with the knowledge and ingenuity to perform at the highest levels. Every child should have the opportunity to reach that horizon and to fulfill the American Dream.
Democrats have long valued education as the key to success, both for individuals and for our nation. In 1944, Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt enacted the G.I. Bill, a landmark piece of legislation that provided World War II veterans with opportunities for higher education. The G.I. Bill represented the single largest investment in higher education ever, and it helped create the modern middle class in America.
In 1990, Indiana Governor Evan Bayh created the 21st Century Scholars program, which promises at-risk middle school students full tuition scholarships in return for being drug, alcohol and crime-free and maintaining decent grades, offering access to thousands of Hoosier students who might never have received it otherwise.
In recent years Democrats have further increased access to higher education and restructured and dramatically expanded college financial aid, while making federal programs simpler, more reliable, and more efficient for students. In 2010, President Obama signed into law student loan reform that ended government subsidies to big banks and made college more affordable to millions of Americans—a measure in size and scope second only to the G.I. Bill.
The Obama administration is working to overhaul the “No Child Left Behind” program and provide teachers with more professional support and resources—while also holding them accountable. President Obama instituted “Race to the Top,” a revolutionary program designed to promote innovation and provide incentives for improvement in education. As a result, already over a dozen states have made changes to increase standards and implement reforms.
As the global marketplace grows more competitive, we need to expand opportunities for higher education and job training. Democrats are committed to increasing the college-completion rate as well as the share of students who are prepared for budding industries with specific job-related skills.
Democrats recognize education as the most pressing economic issue in America’s future, and we cannot allow our country to fall behind in a global economy. We must prepare the next generation for success in college and the workforce, ensuring that American children once again become global leaders in creativity and achievement.