Pete Buttigieg on Education

Democratic Presidential Challenger; IN Mayor


Teachers shouldn't have to pay their own classroom expenses

The best thing that we can do to support public education is to support public educators. I'm a little biased, because I'm married to one. And I get an education about education every day I come home.

I have seen how teachers are expected to dip into their own pockets to furnish their classrooms. Teachers are being expected to handle the mental health challenges that their students are facing because we don't have an adequate mental health system to support kids.

And now some politicians, because they aren't willing to face the need for commonsense gun law, are expecting teachers to somehow transform themselves into highly trained armed guards when there's a threat to a classroom.

We have to show not only with compensation, but with support for the profession overall our regard for those who are educating our kids. And, yes, that means a secretary of education who will support teachers. It also means investing.

Source: 10th Democratic Primary debate on eve of S.C. primary , Feb 25, 2020

Schoolchildren shouldn't have to have active shooter drills

Q: What is your plan for remedying the terror that has become embedded in our schools?

BUTTIGIEG: I'm thinking about terms like dispersion of targets and the difference between cover and concealment that are things that I learned as part of military training. To see what we are accepting in terms of the expectation that this is just normal, that kids are going to have active shooter drills, sometimes before they're old enough to learn how to read, shows you that this country has its priorities wrong.

You look at something like universal background checks. This is something that 80 or 90% support in America and we still can't get it through Washington. It shows you what has to change in our political system. This should not be your problem, and it certainly shouldn't be the problem of the children that you serve.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 with Erin Burnett , Feb 18, 2020

Triple Title I funding; create Education Access Corps

I'm proposing that we triple the funds going into Title I in particular. Those are dollars that go into low-income districts, which is where having a great teacher is especially impactful. I'm proposing that we create an Education Access Corps to link up high-quality teaching programs across the country. If you participate in them, and then commit to teaching in one of those Title I programs, you have a portable teaching license you could take anywhere, and you get your student loans forgiven.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 with Erin Burnett , Feb 18, 2020

Stand up and support public education

Q: How are you going to help educators who spend their own money to buy supplies for their classrooms or beg for them on crowdfunding sites since their district doesn't have the money to supply what they need?

BUTTIGIEG: If we could honor our teachers a little more like we do our soldiers and pay our teachers a little more like we do our doctors, this entire country would be a better place. So what we've got to do is make sure, yes, first of all, that more resources are going into public education. It means making sure that we massively expand the funding for Title I because, in particular, I'm concerned about those districts and schools where the students are most in need. And a lot of that needs to go to the compensation of teachers. The time has come for us to stand up and support public education in this country. And, yes, that begins with having a secretary of education who believes in public education and supports the profession.

Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary , Feb 6, 2020

Public-service loan forgiveness program

Q: You've talked about how you and your husband are paying down six figures of student loan debt. Under Senator Sanders' proposal to cancel all student loan debt, yours would immediately be wiped away. Why wouldn't you support that?

BUTTIGIEG: That would be great for us. The next day, people would be out taking student loans wondering why they weren't lucky enough to get theirs wiped away completely, too. We can have debt-free college for low and middle-income students by expanding Pell Grants and compelling states to pick up more of the burden. For those who have a lot of debt, we can expand a public service loan forgiveness program, which is an excellent program that is almost impossible to actually get access to right now.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Rich kids should pay tuition; but make it more affordable

College affordability is personal for us. Chasten and I have six-figure student debt. I believe in reducing student debt. If you can refinance your house, you ought to be able to refinance your student debt. I also believe in free college for low and middle-income students for whom cost could be a barrier. I just don't believe it makes sense to ask working-class families to subsidize the children of billionaires. The children of the wealthiest Americans can pay at least a little bit of tuition.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

States should take on more of cost of higher education

This is kind of a personal issue for us because Chasten and I live with six-figure student debt. There are several things that we've got to do. Through a combination of carrots and sticks, we've got to induce states to carry more of the burden, instead of continuing to pass it on to students. Students are getting squeezed because states are less and less willing to appropriate the funds to make sure that in-state public college tuition is truly affordable.

We've also got to work on student loan debt. If, when interest rates change, I can refinance the debt on our house, then it stands to reason that you should be able to do with student debt, too.

I think those two steps, coupled with a significant increase in Pell Grants, would make a big difference for college accessibility. And when we're increasing Pell Grants, let's peg it automatically to inflation.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 Democratic primary , Apr 22, 2019

Supports loan forgiveness but not across the board

Q: Would you support student loan cancellation, say, to households earning less than $200,000?

A: I still want to do some math around it. I find it pretty appealing. I'm not as certain that I'm comfortable with people of that high an income participating until we have completed the transition to a more progressive tax code, because if you're north of $200,000, maybe you're at the point where we could ask you to take care of that on yourself. But the theory of it makes a lot of sense.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020 Democratic primary , Apr 22, 2019

Charter schools have a place in the school ecosystem

Other 2020 Democrats have also staked out pro-charter school positions while at the same time calling for other education reforms.

Buttigieg's campaign told NewsHour that the South Bend, Indiana mayor believes charter schools have a place in the school ecosystem, but that they shouldn't replace investment in traditional public schools.

Source: PBS News Hour 2019 coverage of 2020 Democratic primary , Apr 15, 2019

Charter schools can't replace public, but can try new things

Charter schools "have a place" as "a laboratory for techniques that can be replicated." Buttigieg's answer fell short of an enthusiastic charter endorsement, but neither was it a wholesale condemnation. Buttigieg said he was "concerned" about "disinvestment" from public schools. "I don't think they can excuse us," he said of charters.
Source: EducationNext.org on 2020 Democratic hopefuls , Mar 27, 2019

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