Jill Stein on Education

Green Party presidential nominee; Former Challenger for MA Governor


Guarantee tuition-free education pre-school thru university

Q: On Education: Abolish the Dept. of Education & leave school funding & regulation to the states?

Clinton: No.

Trump: Yes.

Johnson: Yes.

Stein: No.

Q: On Education: Make public college tuition free for students from families earning $125,000 or less? Have government help refinance student loans to lower interest rates?

Clinton: Yes on both, using federal subsidies to cover costs. Expand income-contingent loan repayment.

Trump: Trump position unclear. His education advisor considers tuition subsidies & loan refinancing too costly, advocates private sector handling loans.

Johnson: No. Opposes federally guaranteed student loans, and government subsidies of loans, though open to negotiating reduced interest rates with banks.

Stein: Yes on both, "guarantee tuition-free education pre-school through university."

Source: CampusElect Voter Guide to 2016 Presidential race , Oct 9, 2018

Treat education as a right

Source: Stein-Baraka platform on 2016 presidential campaign website , Aug 8, 2016

Wall Street bailout was $17T; student loan bailout under $2T

Q: Young people today are saddled with incredible college debt. You've proposed abolishing this debt. How would you pay for that, and is it really possible?

STEIN: It's not only possible, it's essential. If we found a way to bail out the crooks on Wall Street who crashed the economy through waste, fraud and abuse, we can certainly find a way to help students who are some of the chief victims of that crash. We bailed out Wall Street to the tune of $17 trillion when you include the no-interest loans and the straight-up bailouts they received. The good news is that student debt is tiny by comparison: only $1.3 trillion. And we have the people power to make this happen. There are 43 million young and not-so-young people burdened with predatory student loan debt. That turns out to be a winning plurality of a presidential vote, especially if all those students bring out a family member or two! Students are leading the charge to fix this crisis.

Source: SocialistWorker.org interview of 2016 presidential hopefuls , May 9, 2016

Cancel college debt: it's now $35,000 per student

Another travesty we can fix with the stroke of a pen is the crisis of student debt. Currently 43 million current and former students are locked in debt that they can't repay in the low wage economy--which is here for the foreseeable future. It's unconscionable to allow our younger generation to be the victims of this predatory debt. Average debt for the class of 2015 is over $35,000 per student, and 70% of students are affected.

It's time to bring them back from debt servitude so they can be full participants in our society. It's time to simply cancel this debt, as was done for the Wall Street criminals whose waste, fraud and abuse crashed the economy. We owe our students--the victims of that crash--at least as much.

The bailout for students can be accomplished through quantitative easing, the finance tool used to bail out the banks. This would be a huge stimulus for the economy, as young people are enabled to follow their dreams & re-imagine our future--as every new generation must

Source: Green Party response to 2016 State of the Union speech , Jan 12, 2016

Make public college education free

We must make public higher education free. It pays for itself by a seven fold margin, as we saw with the GI bill following World War II. And it's the right thing to do. Just as a high school education was essential for a young person's economic security in the 20th century, higher education is essential now in the 21st century--and should be provided for free as well.
Source: Green Party response to 2016 State of the Union speech , Jan 12, 2016

Repeal incentives for privatization/charters in NCLB

The assault on public education has also been led by Obama and the Democrats--including the targeted closures of schools in communities of color, high stakes testing abuse, and the demonization of teachers and their unions. Incentives for privatization/ charters built into No Child Left Behind and the Every Child Achieves Act should be repealed. It's time to fully fund public education respect and support our teachers, and to teach to the whole student for lifetime learning.
Source: Green Party response to 2016 State of the Union speech , Jan 12, 2016

Call for an end to school privatization

We are challenging the establishment parties' silence on crucial life-or-death issues. Only our campaign is calling for an end to high stakes testing and school privatization. On the corporate parties' debate stages, they may disagree within the narrow boundaries allowed in Washington. But only our campaign is willing to challenge the deadly bipartisan consensus and put forward an agenda of justice, peace and sustainability that tens of millions of Americans are clamoring for.
Source: Green Party response to 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate , Oct 14, 2015

Common Core empowers contractors over teachers

OnTheIssues: What about Common Core and national education standards and testing?

Stein: In general, high stakes testing is more than counterproductive--it is destructive. It is used as a political tool against teachers--targeting low-income and people of color. Our educational system should target lifetime learning--with full and equitable funding; and eliminating disparities by race. Testing for diagnostic purposes as part of standards [is ok, but we should have] curriculum written by teachers--not by corporate contractors.

OnTheIssues: So what about a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on Common Core, since it addresses some of those issues and not others?

Stein: It's not separable from the issues above so I'd say thumbs down. All schools and all students should have the option to opt out. And that's not enough--because so much of school curricula have been destroyed--we need to teach multi-dimensionally and make schools relevant, using the arts, engaging the community, and more.

Source: Phone interview on 2016 presidential race by OnTheIssues.org , Jul 6, 2015

Charter schools assault the treasure of our public schools

OnTheIssues: What about privatization in the public schools?

Stein: Public education is another example where there has been a complete scam [regarding privatization]--charter schools are not better than public schools--and in many cases they are far worse. They cherry-pick their students so they can show better test scores. The treasure of our public schools system has been assaulted by the process of privatization.

Source: Phone interview on 2016 presidential race by OnTheIssues.org , Jul 6, 2015

End high stakes testing

Education as a Right: Abolish student debt to free a generation of Americans from debt servitude. Guarantee tuition-free, world-class public education from pre-school through university. End high stakes testing and public school privatization.
Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, jill2016.com, "Plan" , Jun 25, 2015

Mobilize to simply keep public education in existence

Families and teachers are mobilizing to keep schools from closing and to simply keep public education in existence. Momentum is growing against abusive high stakes testing that forces poor kids down the deadly school to prison pipeline. Workers are fighting for living wages and the right to a union. Students are demanding an end to college debt that's crippled a generation. And the list goes on. This movement is alive and well in our communities and in the street.
Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, Jill2016.com, "Announce" , Feb 6, 2015

Replace No Child Left Behind with professional teachers

Source: Green Party Platform adopted by National Committee Jul. 2014 , Jul 31, 2014

Negative income tax for guaranteed basic income

We call for a universal basic income (sometimes called a guaranteed income, negative income tax, or citizen dividend). This would go to every adult regardless of health, employment, or marital status, in order to minimize government bureaucracy and intrusiveness into people's lives. The amount should be sufficient so that anyone who is unemployed can afford basic food and shelter. State or local governments should supplement that amount from local revenues where the cost of living is high.
Source: Green Party Platform adopted by National Committee Jul. 2014 , Jul 31, 2014

Bail out the students instead of bailing out the banks

OBAMA: We've got to make sure that we have the best education system in the world. We've worked hard so that student loans are available, but I also want to make sure that community colleges are offering slots for workers to get retrained.

STEIN: To ensure that our students have a strong, secure economic future, how about we bail out the students instead of bailing out the banks for the fourth time? The Federal Reserve just announced its latest quantitative easing, where it will be spending $40 billion a month to bail out the banks for what's effectively the fourth bailout, yet we've really gone nowhere with these bailouts. It's time to bail out the students instead, so that way students can enter into their professional life, their careers, without the deep burden of debt that they currently now have. While we're at it, let's make public higher education free. We owe it to our young people to give them a good, strong start in life. And we know this pays for itself from the GI Bill.

Source: Democracy Now! Expanded Second Obama-Romney 2012 debate , Oct 16, 2012

Supports evolution; supports sex education

Q: Do you support the theory of Evolution?

A: Yes.

Q: Should abortion be outlawed in the United States?

A: No, but providing birth control, sex education, and social services could help reduce the number of abortions.

Source: Presidential comparison website www.iSideWith.com , May 16, 2012

Establish basic right to free college education

Students must be engaged because they bring creativity and fresh life into our economy. We will provide tuition-free higher education, since it's comparable to a high school education in the 20th century--you need a higher education degree in the 21st century economy and it should be provided as a basic right.

I also support legalization of marijuana, ending war, and other bread-and-butter concerns for young people. This is a constituency that is just itching for a platform of this sort.

Source: Interview with Steve Horn of Truthout.org , Jan 29, 2012

Students are on the receiving end of generational injustice

Q: What's your strategy?

A: Our strategy has a lot to do with alternative media and selectively engaging with groups who have been screwed over by both parties. They don't need much convincing. Students, for one, they're there. Students are on the receiving end of generational injustice, because [many problems] will end up falling into the hands of the youth and young people--unfairness in jobs, a climate catastrophe--and we have to ask ourselves what kind of world we're making for them, how we're going to clean up this mess we've left for them. I mean, students and young people are really on the receiving end. What civilization devours its young? Because that's what we're doing. The profiteers are going after the young as a population to exploit. That's why the loans are so high; that's why young people have been put at the bottom of the priority list. They are victims of profiteering. We are all about fighting that. We think green jobs will help with this fight; we will forgive student debt.

Source: Interview with Steve Horn of Truthout.org , Jan 29, 2012

College loans trap students in financial prison of debt

Thirty million college students and recent graduates are trapped in the financial prison of student loan debt. Most students must take out costly loans to meet the skyrocketing cost of tuition. Yet paying off those loans is almost impossible as young people face double-digit unemployment and much lower pay--40% less--than their parents' generation received for the same work.
Source: Green Party 2012 People's State of the Union speech , Jan 25, 2012

Right to a tuition-free public education, pre-K thru college

The Green New Deal begins with an Economic Bill of Rights that recognizes our rights to an economy that serves people. This means all of us have the right to quality education, health care, housing and utilities.

We will honor the right to a tuition-free, quality public education from pre-school through college at public institutions. And we will forgive student loan debt left over from the current era of unaffordable college education .

Source: Green Party 2012 People's State of the Union speech , Jan 25, 2012

Focus on student needs, not corporate needs

Q: Should school curriculums be set by local school boards, national standards, or somewhere in between?

A: To my mind, the issue here is not so much national versus local; the issue is more one of child-centered learning, and learning for lifetime education as opposed to teaching to the test. We focus on student needs, not corporate needs.

Source: 2011 AmericansElect interview questionnaire with Jill Stein , Dec 21, 2011

Move school decisions from national to grassroots level

Q: You advocate for student needs over corporate education needs--does that mean schools should be more under local control, or more under federal control?

A: Our philosophy is to move things to the grassroots level; to move power to the grassroots from the government. It's a decentralization philosophy. At the national level, we should focus on preventing abuse of education rules.

Source: 2011 AmericansElect interview questionnaire with Jill Stein , Dec 21, 2011

Charter school siphon resources from public schools

Q: What's your opinion on charter schools?

A: Unfortunately, charter schools draw down on funding for our public schools, and they siphon off the more capable students and their families. At the same time they concentrate the real social problems in th public schools, which is guaranteed to collapse our public system from within. The advantages of charters ought to be features of all public schools: family engagement, additional resources and budget, and so on.

Source: 2011 AmericansElect interview questionnaire with Jill Stein , Dec 21, 2011

Opposes teacher-led prayer in public schools

Q: What do you think about teacher-led prayer in public schools?

A: I oppose it.

Q: Is that a federal issue or should it be left to the states?

A: The separation of church and state is inherently a federal issue. It's hard to duck that. That is part of our Constitution. To favor one religion is to inherently favor the others. Government needs to be neutral in order to respect everyone's religion.

Source: 2011 OnTheIssues interview with Jill Stein , Dec 21, 2011

Vital public system under attack from privatization

What if a quality public school, integrated into the fabric of the local community, was available to every student, without charge? In Massachusetts, our public schools and colleges are the cornerstone of our democracy and provide the foundation for our citizens' economic success. But now this vital system is under sustained attack from privatization interests who undermine public schools as part of an effort to advance charter school interests.

The funding of education is clearly at a crisis point. Years of neglect, fiscal mismanagement, and promotion of privatization have combined with a budget shortfall to seriously threaten the viability of our public education system. If we tilt toward privatization, it will produce a stratified collection of schools that will make education more expensive, separate schools from their communities, and lead inevitably to the abandonment of the concept of equal access to education. Party leaders are now actively promoting charter school encroachment.

Source: 2010 Gubernatorial Campaign website jillstein.org, "Issues" , Sep 29, 2010

Stop blaming teachers for "underperforming schools"

Source: 2010 Gubernatorial Campaign website jillstein.org, "Issues" , Sep 29, 2010

Standardized tests are misused; they hurt students

We are misusing the MCAS test. This is hurting students and inflating school budgets. Standardized tests do not measure some of the most important goals of an educational system. Getting a passing grade on MCAS is not resulting in improved college performance, a better trained workforce, or improvement on other tests of student capabilities.

Teachers are spending time trying to increase MCAS test scores rather than focusing on what students really need. State officials cite increases in MCAS scores as if this signifies educational progress. It doesn't. It merely means that educational resources are being diverted into teaching to the test.

The goal of education should be to educate the whole student for lifelong learning and success. The current obsession with high stakes testing distracts from addressing the profound barriers to learning that arise long before the child has walked through the classroom door, including poverty and unemployment, poor nutrition and community violence.

Source: 2010 Gubernatorial Campaign website jillstein.org, "Issues" , Sep 29, 2010

No economic barriers to quality college education

What if there were no economic barriers to students getting a quality higher education that prepared them for life, as well as employment? Jill Stein will reverse the escalation of fees and tuition at our public institutions of higher education. We should not allow fiscal neglect to put financial barriers in the path of students of modest means who wish to obtain a college degree.

Jill Stein knows that education is the key to life-long success. A student who is only prepared to serve the short term business goals of the high tech industry is not fully prepared for long term success in life and work. The lasting value of an education often lies in developing teamwork and conflict resolution skills, understanding the lessons of nature and history, and readiness for civic leadership. Striking the right balance between true education and mere skill acquisition should be the responsibility of educators, not panels of high tech executives trying to solve their short-term business needs.

Source: 2010 Gubernatorial Campaign website jillstein.org, "Issues" , Sep 29, 2010

Boost public schools, and hold them accountable

Source: Campaign web site, www.JillWill.org, “Issues” , Oct 9, 2002

Other candidates on Education: Jill Stein on other issues:
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Page last updated: Oct 29, 2016