On Day of DeVos Confirmation Vote, Rep. Takano Releases Progressive K-12 Education Agenda

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) unveiled a comprehensive Progressive K-12 Education Agenda calling for a commitment to public education, expanded access to early childhood education, and equal support and opportunities for low-income students. The agenda reveals the wide gap between progressive Democrats and Betsy DeVos in terms of both education policy priorities and expertise.

“For decades, a strong education system has made it possible for generations of Americans to reach their full potential,” said Rep. Takano, a public school teacher for more than 20 years and a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. “This agenda describes what federal, state, and local policymakers must do to ensure that opportunity and access are available to every student, regardless of family income, race, disability, zip code, or other factors that continue to serve as a barrier to a quality education.”

“President Trump and his nominee for the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos are no friends of public schools,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), co-chair of the House Public Education Caucus. “DeVos’s remarks during her Senate confirmation hearing demonstrated a lack of understanding of some of the most basic elements of our education system. She also doubled down on her intentions to gut our public schools in order to support taxpayer funded voucher programs. The House Public Education Caucus is pleased to support Rep. Takano’s Progressive Education Agenda, which outlines the importance of public schools funding, ensures access to early childhood education, supports educators, and strengthens training programs for our teachers.”

The agenda focuses on six policy goals:

  1. Defend and recommit to public education
  2. Expand access to early childhood education
  3. Ensure our K-12 public education system is providing equitable access to quality education and resources for all students, including the most disadvantaged
  4. Ensure our K-12 public education system is preparing our students for college or a career
  5. Support our educators and strengthen educator training programs
  6. Support diversity and inclusivity in schools 

In stark contrast to Betsy DeVos’s effort to expand the role of for-profit schools in K-12 education, the agenda calls for ending portability and vouchers that shift funding away from high-poverty schools. It also supports increased transparency and accountability for charter schools that too often use their status to evade or ignore education standards. 

“I am deeply troubled by conservative efforts to undermine our public school system in favor of for-profit education companies,” said Rep. Takano. “Childhood education should be recognized as a critical civil rights issue, not an emerging profit center. The Senate should reject President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education and send a clear message that our children’s education is not for sale.”

The agenda reflects input and guidance from members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The House Public Education Caucus, led by Rep. Takano and Rep. Pocan, has officially endorsed this agenda. A full copy is available here

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