Amy Klobuchar on Education

DFL Sr Senator (MN); Democratic presidential contender


Incentivize and fund STEM education & apprenticeships

To promote healthy markets and vigorous competition, we need to ensure a healthy pipeline of talent to further entrepreneurship, innovation, and startups. To that end, I have long been a supporter of education and apprenticeship training in the disciples of science, technology, engineering, and math--collectively known as STEM.

The Sherman Act, the Clayton Act, and other antitrust laws cannot guarantee a vibrant economy. We also need to invest in people. The antitrust laws (which seek to penalize unlawful, anticompetitive conduct) must thus be paired with education efforts to spur more competition with relevant markets and industries.

How do we support STEM? First, the most obvious: better student loan rates and payback programs, and free one and two year degrees. Second, targeted recruitment efforts in minority areas, as well as company and non-profit high school mentorships, career fairs, and internships.

Source: Antitrust, by Amy Klobuchar, p344-345 , Apr 27, 2021

Free college isn't enough; also 2-year degrees & plumbers

We have to look at how we connect our education system with our economy. Where are our job openings? We are going to have over a million openings for home health care workers in the next 10 years. We're going to have over 70,000 openings for electricians. We're not going to have a shortage of MBAs. We're going to have a shortage of plumbers. So when we look at that, where should our money go? It should go into K through 12. It should go into free one- and two-year degrees.
Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

Let graduates refinance loans at a better rate

I want to make it easier for kids to go to college. What I would do about student loan debt is that I would allow people to refinance it at a better rate and I would make sure that we improve those student loan repayment programs for our teachers and expand them so that you literally--over 5, 10 years--can get it paid for if you go into occupations where we don't have enough workers.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Boost teacher pay

Amy Klobuchar on Teacher Pay: Boost teacher pay.

THREE CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Joseph Biden, Jr.; Kamala Harris; Bernard Sanders.

A policy proposal by Sen. Kamala Harris would give the average teacher a raise of $13,500.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she would create a new "Progress Partnerships" program that would provide a federal match to states to increase teacher salaries if states agree to several steps. The steps include creating an "equitable" school infrastructure funding mechanism and convening a commission to review the state's existing funding formula. Separately, her campaign has said she plans to raise teacher pay as part of her first 100 days in office and that effort would not be contingent on participation in the partnership.

The plans by Sanders, Biden and Klobuchar do not explain how the candidates will pay for their proposals.

Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

An infrastructure plan that includes schools

What's happening right now with the African American community when we still have public schools that are crumbling, heat's not working in some of our schools in Baltimore. That's why I came out with an infrastructure plan that includes our schools. That's why I think we need to support our public schools with higher teacher pay. And that we need to put a bigger percentage of our federal budget into that and less giving away to the wealthy people.
Source: Meet the Press interviews in 2019 , Jul 7, 2019

Magic genie could fix college cost; I'd focus on Pell Grants

Q: You've called programs like free college something you might do if you were "a magic genie." To be blunt, are the government programs and benefits that some of your rivals are offering giving people a false sense of what's actually achievable?

KLOBUCHAR: Not everyone is sharing in this [current economic] prosperity. I do get concerned about paying for college for rich kids. I do. But I think my plan is a good one. And my plan would be:

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Address student debt in ways beyond free college

The first thing I would do is allow students and no matter how old they are, former students to refinance their student loans at that rate that's a little above 3 percent we could even go lower to find some even better rate than that. But that's what I think we need to do to bring the interest rate payments down for those Americans that still have the student loans.

The second thing I would do is expand Pell Grant and make it easier for people to use Pell Grant. Those aren't loans, those are grants. Depending on your income level to make that easier as well as the amount of money that you get. The third thing I do is bring back President Obama's plan for free community college.

Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

Loan forgiveness for those taking public service jobs

People that go into those careers that's loan forgiveness. I strongly support that. I think we can do also expand that into in-demand jobs. I would target the loan forgiveness at those that -- for instance, I brought up people that went into public service, in demand locations and in demand jobs that we have in our economy.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

I am not for free four-year college for all

Klobuchar is pitching herself as pragmatic Midwesterner who won't over-promise liberal policies to primary voters. The three-term senator carefully calibrated her answers on several progressive platforms-- expressing support without fully committing to them.

On free four-year college, Klobuchar said: "No, I am not for four-year college for all."

"If I was a magic genie, and could give that for everyone, and we could afford it, I would," Klobuchar said, in response to a student's question on free four-year college. "I've got to tell the truth."

Instead, Klobuchar said that she would support easing restrictions on refinancing student loans, as well as expanding Pell Grants program.

Source: Politico.com on 2020 Democratic primary hopefuls , Feb 18, 2019

Free community college; expand Pell Grants

I think we have to do everything to help our students afford college. My idea is to make it easier to refinance, to start with two-year degrees, the community colleges being free. We need to make it easier to afford college, by making it easier to refinance these loans, by extending Pell Grants so it includes more students.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Feb 18, 2019

No Child Left Behind is an unfunded mandate

I will fight for high standards and accountability in education?but in a way that provides local schools and teachers with the support they need to fulfill these standards. The No Child Left Behind law has created unfunded mandates and failed to meet its commitment to support special education. Our schools and teachers need real support, not empty promises, from the politicians in Washington.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Jan 18, 2006

Expand early childhood education opportunities

I will fight, along with states and local school districts, to expand and improve early childhood education opportunities so every child gets a good start in life and enters kindergarten ready to learn. When children get off to a good start, they do better in school, stay law-abiding and enjoy higher earnings as adults. Public investment in a good preschool program generates a 16 percent annual rate of return. Try to get that in the stock market!
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Jan 18, 2006

Sponsored extending subsidized federal student loan rates until 2015.

Klobuchar co-sponsored Student Loan Affordability Act

Congressional Summary:Amends title IV (Student Assistance) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the 3.4% interest rate on Federal Direct Stafford loans to loans first disbursed to undergraduate students between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2015. Replaces the [termination date of] 2013 with 2015.

Proponent`s argument for bill:(US PIRG press release): The Student Loan Affordability Act keeps interest rates affordable for students over the next two years. If Congress fails to act by July 1, interest rates on federal Subsidized Stafford Loans will double from 3.4% to 6.8%. That would hike the cost of college by $1,000 per student, per loan, for over 7 million students across the country. The bill pays for extending the current interest rates through 2015 by closing three non-education tax loopholes.

Opponent`s argument against bill:(Rep. Tom Cotton, R-AR): Unfortunately, too many students today struggle for years to repay their loans because Washington politicians dictate student-loan rates and end up hurting students and taxpayers alike. It`s causing tuition costs to skyrocket, leaving students buried in debt, often without jobs, and forced to delay buying a home and starting a family. As students struggle to repay their loans--regardless of the interest rate--taxpayers are on the hook for a $100 billion bailout--a burden hard-working Arkansans shouldn`t have to bear. A better path is to let Arkansas`s hometown banks work with students and families to finance higher education, just as they do with homes, farms, businesses, and other loans. I`m committed to bringing affordable higher education to every Arkansan and ending the federal-government monopoly on the student-lending business.

Source: S.707 / H.R.1433 13-S707 on Apr 11, 2013

Make two years of community college free.

Klobuchar 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.

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

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