Buttigieg pledges billions to curb education disparities
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[December 07, 2019]
By Michael Martina
DETROIT (Reuters) - Democratic presidential
candidate Pete Buttigieg vowed on Saturday to spend hundreds of billions
of dollars to improve public education if elected, with a plan that
boosts funds for "underserved children" and expands early childhood
Buttigieg, who has campaign stops this weekend in Iowa where he has
surged into the lead in opinion polls, has faced skepticism among black
voters, some of whom have said economic gains in South Bend, Indiana,
where he is mayor have left behind minorities.
The campaign's plan echoes proposals from other Democratic candidates,
including U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has called for
ending racial disparities in public education and a ban on for-profit
"Far from putting our kids on a level playing field, America's education
system takes already vast disparities and makes them worse," the
37-year-old mayor said in a statement issued with his plan.
Buttigieg vowed to invest $700 billion to ensure universal affordable
daycare and pre-kindergarten education for the first five years of a
child's life. Under the policy, families in poverty would have fully
subsidized care, and no family would pay more than 7% of income on early
learning costs, he said.
The campaign told Reuters that under Buttigieg's plans K-12 education
would see $425 billion in increased funding over 10 years, which would
be paid for by stronger tax enforcement on corporations and the wealthy.
$300 billion of that would be Title 1 funding for schools which have a
large proportion of lower-income students.
He would spend $500 million to support racial and economic school
integration, partly through dedicated outlays for affordable housing in
high-performing school districts.
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U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg holds a town
hall event in Creston, Iowa, U.S. November 25, 2019. REUTERS/Scott
Buttigieg would also ban for-profit charter schools, which are
publicly funded but privately run, sometimes by for-profit
companies. Republican President Donald Trump has sought to increase
federal money for such schools, but critics argue they take
resources from other public schools to serve select groups.
Buttigieg, who has never held statewide or federal office, is
battling Sanders, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, and former Vice
President Joe Biden for the lead in national polls for the
Democratic nomination to challenge Trump in the November 2020
Warren, a former teacher, has called for an $800 billion investment
in public schools, canceling student debt, and for quadrupling funds
over the next 10 years for Title 1 schools.
Biden, who has strong support among black voters, has vowed to make
community college free and invest $70 billion in historically black
colleges and universities.
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by John Whitesides and
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