Skip to main content

Joe Sestak presents pioneering new policies on education and “training for a lifetime” in Muscatine, Iowa

On August 29th, in Muscatine, Iowa, I presented my education and ‘training for a lifetime’ policy – which plans for skill training and retraining throughout one’s career, as well early education through post-secondary. You can read it in full here.

People are often surprised when I say that “education is our best homeland defense,” given my 31-year service in the military, but I firmly believe that education is the bedrock of a successful society. We need a skilled population that can out-innovate our competitors and create the jobs of the future.

As a father, I know that America’s youth are our national treasure. It is they who will continue to make our country prosper for generations to come. But sadly, too many of our nation’s youth are unable to get a world-class education or training today. As President, I will work every day to improve our educational and training system and ensure that every American can access the high-quality education and skills they deserve.

My priorities are below (read the full paper here):

  • Expand early childhood education to all 4-year-olds.
  • Expand free lunch programs to all students in low-income communities.
  • Support state-led efforts like Common Core to create unified benchmarks for success.
  • Increase broadband Internet connectivity across the country, especially in underserved rural and urban areas.
  • Fix crumbling schools and create a healthy, safe environment for all children as part of a national infrastructure program.
  • Support transitioning to 9am – 5pm school days to help working parents and give students more time for much-needed sleep, as medical studies show adolescents in particular need more sleep than most get.
  • Create more opportunities for technical training and workplace experience, along with college preparatory academics, which ties in well to my Training for a Lifetime plan, described below.
  • Increase availability of tutors for students who need them, especially through existing programs like the “Silver Scholarship Program” I created while in Congress to encourage senior citizens to perform community service (in exchange for scholarship funds transferable to a grandchild or other young person).
  • Pay teachers as professionals, and subsidize teacher pay as necessary in underserved rural and urban school districts.
  • Increase access to higher education by providing states with grants to support tuition at community colleges and public universities.
  • Reduce costs of higher education by making federal student aid and loans contingent upon each university keeping annual tuition increases at or below inflation.
  • Restructure federal student loans so the government no longer makes a profit off of students attempting to improve themselves.
  • Reform and expand the REPAYE (Revised-Pay-As-You-Earn) program, an income-based repayment plan that currently allows for debt forgiveness after 20 years of borrowers paying 10% of their discretionary income, regardless of the original terms of the loan. (With consideration of reducing both years and percentage of income, especially for lower-income individuals.)
  • Establish a national college credit transfer system.
  • Develop a national apprenticeship program.
  • Create a “Training for a Lifetime” program to increase opportunities for job training and continuing education.

For more, read the full paper here.

To read all of my policy papers, please click here to check out my “Plan for America.”