Democrats are committed to ensuring our nation’s children have access to a high-quality education. If our nation is going to remain the world’s leader, America must not lag our global competitors in education. We are working to reduce high school dropout rates, prepare students for higher education and skills training, and provide students with the support they need to secure well-paying jobs.  

Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is a critical step to ensure that a high quality education is available to every student in America. This reauthorization is long overdue, yet House Republicans have failed to work with Democrats to take action and address the flaws of No Child Left Behind. Instead, in early 2015 Republicans proposed a partisan ESEA bill that cuts 65 education programs and offers a short-sighted plan that would harm poor and minority students. Democrats will keep working to reach agreement on a bipartisan reauthorization of ESEA that maintains the important role the federal government has in supporting local education systems across the country and helps more children succeed in school and graduate prepared for college or a career.

Republicans have also repeatedly voted for a budget that dramatically cuts education and job training programs, threatening our ability to build a competitive workforce and help more Americans get back to work. They have also voted to slash funding for children’s programs, eliminating more than a hundred thousand children from Head Start, denying access to literacy programs, and cutting nutrition programs when families need them the most.

Democrats are fighting to protect middle class families from these harmful cuts and have a strong record of making investments that will strengthen education. During the worst of the Great Recession, Democrats helped prevent 300,000 layoffs of teachers and other important school personnel across our nation - layoffs that would have crowded our classrooms and harmed the quality of our kids’ education. We also helped save additional jobs across the country when Congress approved additional aid for K-12 educators in August 2010.

President Obama and Democrats also created the Department of Education’s competition “Race to the Top,” which awards grants to states for demonstrating commitment to education reform. In the first three phases of the program, 19 states received grants to implement necessary reforms - investments that will improve student achievement while maintaining high standards for students, teachers and parents alike.

While Republicans voted to cut Pell grants in their budget, which would affect nearly 10 million students, Democrats have been committed to making higher education more accessible and affordable for students. During the 111th Congress, under a Democratic majority, Democrats increased Pell grants, cut red tape in the loan process and made it easier to repay student loans once students join the workforce. We enacted a major reform bill that ended wasteful taxpayer subsidies to big banks and directed the savings to helping students instead. Democrats also have made record investments in community colleges and minority-serving higher education institutions.