Kamala Harris on Education
Democratic candidate for President (withdrawn); California Senator
$2T for HBCUs; they produce so many of our teachers
I want to talk in terms of HBCUs [Historically Black Colleges and Universities]. I have, as part of my proposal that we will put $2 trillion into investing in our HBCUs for teachers, because, one, as a proud graduate of a historically black college and
university, I will say that it is our HBCUs that disproportionately produce teachers and those who serve in these may professions, but also, if a black child has a black teacher before the end of third grade, they're 13% more likely to go to college.
If that child has had two black teachers before the end of third grade, they're 32% more likely to go to college. So, when we talk about investing in our public education system, it is at the source of so much.
When we fix it, that will fix so many other things. We must invest in the potential of our children and I strongly believe you can judge a society based on how it treats its children. And we are failing on this issue.
Source: September Democratic Primary debate in Houston
, Sep 12, 2019
FactCheck: Did not desegregate LA and SF school districts
The attack: V.P. Joe Biden said that when Harris was attorney general "there were two of the most segregated school districts in the country, in Los Angeles and in San Francisco. And I didn't see a single solitary time she brought a case against them to
The context: Yes, both districts have struggled to better integrate. But it was difficult -- and highly unusual -- for a state attorney general at that time to file suit to desegregate a school, said [a California schools expert].
A series of federal court decisions in the mid-1990s made it much tougher to bring desegregation lawsuits. Few state attorneys general even try. "There was nothing she could really do in San Francisco to force the district to use race-conscious
efforts to desegregate the schools. The legal standard would be very difficult to prove," the expert said. "San Francisco has tried a lot of different things to make less segregated schools -- it's just a very difficult thing to do."
Source: S.F.Chronicle FactCheck: July 2019 Democratic Primary debate
, Jul 31, 2019
Boost average teacher pay by $13,500
Announced in March a plan to give the average teacher a $13,500 salary increase,
which would cost an estimated $315 billion over 10 years.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020"
, May 7, 2019
Change rules on student debt: reduce interest, income based
I do support debt-free college. I also believe that what we need to do is we need to allow students to refinance your student loan debt. If you took out student loans between the years of about 2006 through 2013, the interest rate was about 7 percent.
What I am proposing is, regardless of the interest rate at the time, repayment would have to be at 3.5 percent. I would require that there be a robust process by which income-based repayment would be the norm.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back
, Apr 22, 2019
Federal money to subsidize teach pay raises
How, exactly, is this federal money supposed to end up in local teacher hands? Harris' plan calls on the feds to contribute the first 10% of the money needed to finance the raises (which are supposed to be, on average, $13,500 per teacher).
Then her administration will "incentivize states to step up and do their part" by offering a sort of three-to-one matching fund. For every dollar the state kicks in, the feds will kick in three.
Source: Forbes Magazine, "Four Reasons," on 2020 Democratic primary
, Mar 26, 2019
Free tuition at four-year public colleges
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls
, Jan 21, 2019
- Education: Free tuition at four-year public colleges for most Americans. Create national prekindergarten program.
- Harris would enact the "College for All Act" proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
- That would create a government funding
program that would pay for tuition and fees at public colleges and universities for students with incomes of $125,000 a year or less.
This would be funded by a fee on Wall Street firms of 0.5 percent per stock trade.
- She supports expanding Head Start and Early
Head Start, and would create a "national universal prekindergarten," though she has not yet offered specifics for that plan.
As child, bused to desegregated school with mixed races
[In my childhood in California] I would walk to the corner and get on the bus to Thousand Oaks Elementary School. I only learned later that we were part of a national experiment in desegregation, with working-class black children from the flatlands
being bussed in one direction and the wealthier white children from the Berkeley Hills bused in the other. At the time, all I knew was that the big yellow bus was the way I got to school.
Looking at the photo of my first-grade class reminds me of how wonderful it was to grow up in such a diverse environment. Because the students came from all over the area, we were a varied bunch;
some grew up in public housing and others were the children of professors. I remember celebrating varied cultural holidays at school and learning to count to ten in several languages.
Source: The Truths We Hold, by Kamala Harris, p.11
, Jan 8, 2019
Took on Corinthian College, a for-profit college scam
When I was attorney general of California, we took on Corinthian Colleges Inc., one of the largest for-profit college scams in the country. In order to get students and investors to sign up, Corinthian representatives lied incessantly. They told
investors that more than 60% of their students were successfully placed in sustainable jobs. They charged students enormous amounts for their degrees. They advertised programs they didn't offer and penalized their telemarketers if they revealed the
truth to prospective students.
Even more venal, Corinthian targeted people living at the poverty line. Corinthian's internal documents betrayed the company's attitude toward its own students: they called their target demographic "isolated,"
"impatient" men and women with "low self-esteem," who are "unable to see and plan well" for their own future. As far as I was concerned, this conduct was no different from the criminal predators I've known--purposely targeting those most in need.
Source: The Truths We Hold, by Kamala Harris, p.224
, Jan 8, 2019
Ensure access to a high quality public education
Kamala believes that meaningful access to education is a fundamental civil right, and she is fighting to ensure all California children have access to a high quality public education. In California, the right to a public education is properly enshrined
in our state's Constitution. As a prosecutor & the state's top lawyer, however, Kamala has seen too many of our children denied this right through no fault of their own, depriving them of the tools to succeed in school and in life. Kamala believes that
investing in education is a surefire way to ensure that children grow up prepared for 21st century jobs and helps children become productive and contributing members of the community. It is also the most cost-effective way to reduce crime.
Senate, she'll continue fighting for universal early childhood education so that students enter school ready to learn, and she will focus on getting more resources into classrooms and giving children a fair shot at success in school and in life.
Source: 2016 California Senate campaign website, KamalaHarris.org
, Aug 31, 2016
Make two years of community college free.
Harris co-sponsored making two years of community college free
Excerpts from press release from Tammy Baldwin, Senate sponsor: The America's College Promise Act makes two years of community college free by:
Community, technical, and tribal colleges enroll 40% of all college students today. Community colleges are uniquely positioned to partner with employers to create tailored training programs to meet economic needs within their communities such as nursing and advanced manufacturing.
- Providing a federal match of $3 for every $1 invested by the state to waive community college tuition and fees for eligible students;
- Ensuring that programs offer academic credits which are fully transferable to four-year institutions in their state;
- Establishing a new grant program to provide pathways to success at minority-serving institutions by helping them cover a significant portion of tuition and fees for the first two years of attendance for low-income students.
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, "College
Courtesy of the Taxpayer? No Thanks," Jan. 9, 2015): One look at either community college outcomes or labor market outlooks reveals free college to be educational folly. Community college completion rates are atrocious: a mere 19.5% of community college students complete their programs. Meanwhile, the for-profit sector has an almost 63% completion rate. And [about 70%] of the new job categories in coming years will require a high school diploma or less.
Opposing argument: (Heritage Foundation, "Free Community College Is a Bad Deal", July 15, 2016): Free college proposals would subject community colleges to the same types of subsidies-induced inflation endemic at four-year institutions. And low-income students already have access to federal Pell Grants, which can cover the bulk of community college tuition. By contrast, a more open market of alternative schooling models, such as online or vocational education programs, could better tailor degrees at a lower cost.
Source: America's College Promise Act 15-S1716 on Jul 8, 2015
Other candidates on Education:
Kamala Harris on other issues:
Kevin de Leon
Tom Del Beccaro
Senate races 2019-20:
Senate Votes (analysis)
Page last updated: Jul 14, 2020