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What if Washington could connect people with family-sustaining jobs through education and training?


Gaping inequalities by race and family income


Reduced economic and educational disparities


Let’s invest in families and communities to increase access to education opportunity. Nick Hanauer from The Atlantic writes, “We have confused a symptom—educational inequality—with the underlying disease: economic inequality. Twenty percent of student outcomes can be attributed to schooling, whereas about 60 percent are explained by family circumstances—most significantly, income.” 


We must invest not only in our children, but in their families and their communities. This means providing high-quality public education (alongside improvements to teacher pay, supplies, and curriculum). It means access to affordable housing. It means health care, child care, and all the other prerequisites of a secure middle-class life.  


We can do this by connecting the Departments of Education, Health/Human Services, and Defense (given the strong outcomes of schools run by the DoD).



Step 1: Make it possible to go to school from day one.
  • Address food, transportation, and basic needs for low income children, especially in pre-K, to narrow gaps between students from the start.
  • Provide continued academic, health, nutrition, and emotional support for school children along with meaningful parent and community engagement.
  • Owner: Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Service, Department of Defense



Step 2: Align skills with jobs and create pathways to financial stability.
  • Organize employers, educators, and trainers to define a common skills and job taxonomy and embed in education, training, and hiring practices.
  • Double the R&D budget for the Department of Education by re-allocating some military resources and expertise into the public school system.
  • Create stronger pathways to acquire technical skills (digital literacy, citizenship, and AI)
  • Owner: Department of Labor (DOL), Department of Education, Department of Defense



Step 3: Raise teacher pay to a living wage across the board.
  • Guarantee that teacher starting wages are living wages for all public schools.
  • Owner: Department of Education, Department of Defense



Step 4: Situational Flexibility for Students based on Need.
  • Ban for-profit charter schools and shut down low-performing ones while continuing to prohibit private-school vouchers.
  • Explore charter schools as complements to traditional public schools, experiment with new teaching methods, and scale successes.
  • Owner: Department of Education, Department of Defense