Education

Student Debt Fact Sheet

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  • Speaking Truth to Power

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  • The Sanders Institute Talks: Student Loan Debt

    Dr. Jane O'Meara Sanders sits down with Sanders Institute Founding Fellow and economist Dr. Stephanie Kelton to talk about Dr. Kelton's new report on the macroeconomic effects of student loan debt cancellation in the United States.

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  • The Macroeconomic Effects of Student Debt Cancellation

    Among the more ambitious policies that have been proposed to address the problem of escalating student loan debt are various forms of debt cancellation. In this report, Scott Fullwiler, Research Associate Stephanie Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin, and Marshall Steinbaum examine the likely macroeconomic impacts of a one-time, federally funded cancellation of all outstanding student debt.

    The report analyzes households’ mounting reliance on debt to finance higher education, including the distributive implications of student debt and debt cancellation; describes the financial mechanics required to carry out the cancellation of debt held by the Department of Education (which makes up the vast majority of student loans outstanding) as well as privately owned student debt; and uses two macroeconometric models to provide a plausible range for the likely impacts of student debt cancellation on key economic variables over a 10-year horizon.

    The authors find that cancellation would have a meaningful stimulus effect, characterized by greater economic activity as measured by GDP and employment, with only moderate effects on the federal budget deficit, interest rates, and inflation (while state budgets improve). These results suggest that policies like student debt cancellation can be a viable part of a needed reorientation of US higher education policy.

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  • The West's Broken Promises on Education Aid

    The Global Partnership for Education, a worthy and capable initiative to promote education in 65 low-income countries, is begging for funds. The fact that it must do so - and for a paltry $1 billion per year, at that – exposes the charade of the US and European commitment to education for all.

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  • Declaration of the Ethics in Action Meeting on Education

    In October of 2017 the Ethics in Action Conference at the Vatican released this "Declaration of the Ethics in Action Meeting on Education."

    It summarizes the thoughts and findings of the conference as well as specific commitments from the participants on SDG 4 - education. It states that "Education is both a fundamental need and right of all children" and therefore, it is the duty and responsibility of those with means and ability to further the education of all children, especially those at the bottom of the income distribution. 

    The declaration states the amount of spending and support that would be required to further this goal. "To achieve quality education for all children, the incremental international funds needed are very modest, roughly $40 billion per year, or 0.1% of the national income of the high-income countries. Yet even such modest flows can do much to ensure a more peaceful, harmonious and productive world."

    Education, however, does not happen in a vacuum. Therefore, the declaration calls on parents, teachers, countries, corporations, and universities to all commit to this endeavor. 

    Ultimately, it argues that "We need an educational system that promotes a fair, inclusive and sustainable world-without slavery and exclusion, where we take care of our common home, and where all have access to land, housing, work, education, and the foundations of a dignified life."

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  • Remarks at the Ethics in Action Conference at The Vatican

    As we read in many papers that were distributed over the last weeks, and heard in many presentations yesterday, education begins even before birth, with the early years being the most important years of our cognitive and emotional growth. The advances in neuroscience have intrigued me so much that I've imagined a vastly different approach to learning throughout our system.

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  • The Importance of Civil Discourse

    Last week I became the Chair of The Sanders Institute (TSI), an initiative that grew out of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign of 2016. While as a sitting senator, Sanders cannot be involved in the work of TSI, we are committed to elevating the issues on which he based his run for the White House.

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  • Dr. Cornel West, Robert George Tackle Tough Issues in Auburn University's "Critical Conversations" Series

    Dr. Cornel West and Robert George kicked off a series of "Critical Conversations" at Auburn University on Friday September 1, 2017. The University said the speaker series has been put together in an effort to educate students to the point of making thought-out decisions. “Free speech is one of our nation’s founding principles,” said Auburn President Steven Leath. “Engaging with national thinkers and speakers to explore all perspectives around civil discourse is key to informed decision-making, critical thinking and leadership. We’re excited to bring this opportunity to our students and the campus community.”

    You can watch the entire conversation here.

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  • 5 Facts About Student Loans

    This article from the Pew Research Center describes 5 facts about student loans in the United States:

    1. About four-in-ten adults under age 30 have student loan debt.

    2. The amount students owe varies widely, especially by degree attained.

    3. Young college graduates with student loans are more likely than those without loans to have a second job and to report struggling financially.

    4. Young college graduates with student loans are more likely to live in a higher-income family than those without a bachelor’s degree.

    5. Compared with young adults who don’t have student debt, student loan holders are less upbeat about the value of their degree.

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  • 2017 People's Summit Panel: From Knowledge to Action

    Dr. Jane O'Meara Sanders hosted this discussion at the 2017 People's Summit with Danny Glover, Amy Goodman, Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Naomi Klein. In this discussion, the panelists focused on the importance of civil discourse versus political distraction, as well as highlighting how other progressive movements around the world can intersect with each other, and what forms and shapes the belief systems of those who are working for a progressive society today.

    From Knowledge to Action from National Nurses United on Vimeo.

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  • Jane Sanders launches think tank to promote ‘progressive voices’

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  • Senator Nina Turner On Education And The Ongoing Fight For The Populace

    In this article former Ohio State Senator Nina Tuner discusses her thoughts on education and politics.

    After the loss of her mother at a young age, Education played an important role in Turner's life. Yet, Turner believes that it can be better for poor and working class individuals like herself: "[My situation] gave me a sensitivity to the plight of poor people because I did grow up in a working class family, but we were very poor and it made me really sensitive. Because education helped change my life, I do believe if people have the opportunity, that education can do the same thing for them and help more [people] become cycle breakers. That gave me my heart connection to education."

    Improving education would come in many forms, however Turner specifically focuses on the need for after school programs and input from the community: "We do have to decide as a nation whether or not we are going to invest dollars, but also invest concentration, in our effort to create the types of programming that help our children overcome [any] challenges they may have at home or any challenges they may have in the community.”

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  • Lecture: Truth as a Common Good

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  • Truth Seeking, Democracy, and Freedom of Thought and Expression - A Statement by Robert P. George and Cornel West

    The pursuit of knowledge and the maintenance of a free and democratic society require the cultivation and practice of the virtues of intellectual humility, openness of mind, and, above all, love of truth. These virtues will manifest themselves and be strengthened by one’s willingness to listen attentively and respectfully to intelligent people who challenge one’s beliefs and who represent causes one disagrees with and points of view one does not share.

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  • School Choice 101

    Many Republicans have lauded school choice for a number of years. In fact, the new administration's Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has strongly supported school choice.

    As the new administration addresses education in the United States, it is important to understand what they mean when they say "School Choice." This fact article answers key questions about school choice including:

    1) What do people mean when they say school choice?

    2) What is the voucher program?

    3) How does the voucher program work?

    4) What are the other school choice programs?

    5) Why is school choice controversial?

    6) What have been the results of school choice programs so far? 

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  • Bill To Watch - HR 899

    On February 7, 2017, Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky introduced a bill to terminate the Department of Education on December 31, 2018. As of March 6, 2017 the bill has eight co-sponsors. 

    This article allows you to read the bill and see its co-sponsors.

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  • Student Loan Debt By State By School Report 2016

    This article from LendEDU breaks down student loan debt in the United States by state.

    "Student debt at graduation differs rather dramatically by college and by state. In our report we analysed financial aid data from over 1,000 colleges and universities in the United States... We’ve broken down the student loan debt statistics for over 1,300 different colleges. Then we ranked the data to determine which colleges were giving students the most, and the least, amount of student loan debt. We’ve split out the rankings for public institutions, private institutions, and on an overall basis."

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  • Dr. Cornel West And Robert George In Discussion: Liberal Arts Education

    While they are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, Princeton Professors Robert George and Cornel West have spent the past several years teaching and lecturing together to accomplish a common goal: the provision of a true liberal arts education to their students. Through their courses and their friendship, they have served as examples of how, when two knowledgeable and principled individuals come together in an honest and non adversarial pursuit of truth, the competition of ideas deepens their own understanding of that truth.

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  • From the CIA to the GFE

    The US spends $1 billion per year on global education, and $900 billion on military-related programs. Unfortunately, it is not the only country where policymakers believe that sustainable development is best achieved through superior firepower.

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  • U.S. Public Education System

    This video from 2015 goes over some key facts about the U.S. public school system. From the fact that 14% of U.S. adults can't read to the fact that there were 1.4 million cases of bullying in 2014. Other issues addressed in the video include: the US world ranking, drop out rates, and school libraries.

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  • Senator Bernie Sanders: 'Higher Education Should Be A Right'

    In this video from 2015, Senator Sanders discusses colleges and universities in the U.S. and his idea that college education should be a right.

    He points to Denmark as a country that has better outcomes than the United States where education is a right school from elementary through graduate is free.

    However, the Senator acknowledges that there are rising costs associated with college education here in the U.S. : "The cost of college has outpaced inflation." He states that while colleges and universities deserve a large part of the blame for those increases, a lot of state governments are withdrawing funding from those public schools which adds to the problem.

    Ultimately, the Senator states that while it is expensive, a more educated public benefits the entire country: "Higher education should be a right for people who have the ability and the desire because that makes our country better."

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  • $0 Is The Cost Of Making Public Colleges Tuition Free

    This video by Slate looks at the federal government funding for education in the context of purely how much money goes into the college education system (e.g. through pell grants.) 

    It concludes that the amount that the government already spends on higher education, around $70 billion dollars, "more than enough to cover the cost of every student at each and every public institution the country."

    The video goes on to look at some of the criticisms of making college education free - for example, it would be funding school for students from high-income families who could afford to pay for college. It even goes on to propose a hybrid system where those students would pay a reasonable amount while lower-income students would pay nothing.

    Ultimately, it challenges the notion that it would cost too much to make college free for all students. 

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  • How the U.S. Government Could End the Student Debt Crisis Today

    This article from Yes! magazine looks at student loans in the United States from a different perspective. 

    Student loans are an increasingly large issue in the United States "In the United States, student loan debt has passed the $1 trillion mark. The burden is now becoming increasingly heavy for middle-class and wealthy students, but especially for those from lower-income backgrounds." This article argues that it does not have to be.

    "At a basic level, the U.S. federal government doesn’t need to scrimp and save to fully fund higher education. It can just spend money rather than lend it, without incurring any significant negative economic consequences."

    This concept stems from an economic theory: "Many economists known as “deficit owls ” have argued for decades that the U.S. federal government doesn’t need tax revenues or bond payments in order to spend money on education or anything else. Rather, the true limits to federal spending are the availability of real resources and the stability of prices."

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  • 60 Years Later, Education Inequities Remain

    In this article, Ben Jealous looks at the Common Core State Standards as another step towards equal access to high-quality education.

    He states "The educational landscape today is defined by its harsh inequities. Students of color lag behind their white peers in test scores and graduation rates on nearly every indicator." Rather than this being an an indication of ability or desire, "African-American and Latino students tend to live in poor neighborhoods with underfunded schools, and these schools lack the experienced teachers, extracurricular activities, and access to college courses that help students thrive."

    While Jealous states that the Common Core state standards are not perfect, and there are legitimate criticisms from both sides, "The first step to solving a problem is identifying it correctly. The Common Core standards offer clear, consistent and high expectations for what children should be learning at each grade level. Although the new tests are often more difficult, they also offer a more accurate portrait of student achievement."

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  • Just Say No To Austerity

    Wall Street Banks, American corporations and their political allies have declared a one-sided war on the American people. This war is being waged at our schools and colleges, on public employee unions, in our workplaces and in our communities.

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  • The Evaluation Of Charter School Impacts

    This report begins with the statement that "Charter schools, first launched in the 1990s, are an important and growing component of the public school system in the United States." However, it asks - "How, and under what circumstances charter schools improve the outcomes of students who attend them?"

    It comes to a number of key findings about charter schools:

    • On average, charter middle schools that hold lotteries are neither more nor less successful than traditional public schools in improving student achievement, behavior, and school progress.

    • The impact of charter middle schools on student achievement varies significantly across schools.

    • In our exploratory analysis, for example, we found that study charter schools serving more low income or low achieving students had statistically significant positive effects on math test scores, while charter schools serving more advantaged students-those with higher income and prior achievement—had significant negative effects on math test scores.

    • Some operational features of charter middle schools are associated with more positive (or less negative) impacts on achievement.

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