The current educational atmosphere demands equal accountability and standards for all schools, public, charter, and private. We need to shift the focus from standardized test results and measure the growth of students socially, emotionally, and academically in their classrooms. To accomplish this, we will organize a cohort of educational leaders and other stakeholders throughout the country to create these standards. If any school would like to benefit from school vouchers or receive federal funding, they must accept and adhere to these standards.
The need for higher levels of education has never been greater. For many, college has become an extension of our K-12 school system. Many families are unable to afford the rising cost of tuition and housing at colleges and universities. As society changes and advances, students need to have the skills and strategies to compete in a global marketplace. Securing debt-free college for our students and families is essential. Their future and our future depends on it.
Too many young adults have to use student loans to attend college. Presently, too many of us are drowning in student loan debt after graduation. If we want people to contribute to society and our economy in meaningful ways after graduation, we must decrease this financial burden. We will explore further ways to forgive current student loans while drastically overhauling the current system of predatory lending.
The backbone of every nation is a healthy population. Without a physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy country, we cannot expect to compete globally. Healthcare is a right and it is our responsibility to guarantee affordable insurance coverage for every American. The quality of treatment of an individual should not be determined by that individual’s level of income.
In America, millionaires and billionaires are allowed to donate as much money as they like to Super PACs. These groups then run a shadow campaign to tilt the results towards their favored candidate. The result? Elections funded by the wealthy to benefit their best interests. We will work to create legislation that will move us toward a publicly-funded election system. If we really want a “government of the people, by the people, for the people”, then we need to put elections back in the hands of every American.
Responsible gun ownership is a part of American history and culture. In the 21st century, responsible gun ownership means treating guns like they are cars. A responsible gun owner can prove, through a written and skills-based practical tests, that they can safely operate a firearm. Responsible gun safety for the 21st century should include an assault rifle ban like that from 1994, universal background checks, raising the age to buy a gun, closing gun show loopholes, and exploring liability insurance for ownership.
Climate change is real and largely influenced by human activity. The good news for us and the planet is that this damage can be reversed. This is why we need to heavily invest in our renewable energy infrastructure. Solar and wind energy are cheaper than fossil fuels in numerous countries and we must make that a reality in America. We will strive to be a global leader in renewable energy while creating stable employment opportunities and saving our planet.
To close the wealth gap and ensure the growth of our working class, we must commit to being fiscally responsible. To accomplish this, we will close corporate tax loopholes, lower tax rates for the average American, and rein in government spending on unnecessary programs. As a result, we will be able to fund programs that will benefit and contribute to the growth of our economy and working class.
Our country has 25% of the world’s prison population with only 5% of the world’s population. This level of incarceration destroys too many families while perpetuating the cyclical and generational patterns of poverty. We must recognize the disparities in our system and work together to find solutions that will truly move us forward.
The ineffective decades long war on drugs has been a massive financial burden on taxpayers. We have significantly increased our prison population while increasing our issues with dangerous drugs. It is time to treat addiction as an illness and not a choice. We must revise our drug laws, legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana, and pardon individuals serving sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.
Law enforcement officers have to make split-second, but life-altering decisions. In an instant, choices are made that save lives or unnecessarily take lives. We must recognize and take action against the disparity that exists within these outcomes. We must also celebrate the life-saving decisions of officers while increasing accountability when actions result in violence and the loss of life.
No American should work 40 hours a week and still live below the poverty line while struggling to meet their most basic needs. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour nationwide ensures that all Americans earn a living wage. If we are going to stop the shrinkage of the middle class, this is an absolute necessity.
We must rid our food of unnecessary chemicals that cause short and long-term harm to our bodies. Our country needs to endorse organic, chemical-free, healthy food for our citizens. We start by giving tax breaks to organic farmers and companies to encourage market growth and reduce consumer prices. If we want to decrease health issues, we need to significantly increase the quality of our food while making it more affordable and accessible for all Americans.