WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Shanker Institute speech on “The Affordability Crisis: Rescuing the Dream of College Education for the Working Class and Poor”:
“Solving the great challenges of our generation requires leadership, knowledge, compassion and collaboration. Time and again, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has shown she is ahead of the curve in proposing real solutions to help millions of aspiring students reclaim access to the American dream—access to higher education.
“In the 20th century, we highlighted the value of a high school diploma by making public high school free for all students. We encouraged our veterans to go to college by passing the GI Bill. Today, we tell our young people that a college degree is the clearest path to the middle class, but we have allowed college to become less accessible and less affordable.
“The time has come to be bold. Sen. Warren’s proposals today—incentivizing state investment in higher education, holding colleges accountable for unsustainable student debt burdens, allowing students to refinance their loans, and cracking down on for-profits so they are spending federal dollars on instruction, not simply marketing or profit —share wide bipartisan support in Congress. The question remains: Does Congress have the political will to find common ground and change the landscape for the future of higher education in our country?
“As the largest higher education union in the country, the AFT and our members deliver high-quality instruction and leadership in their lecture halls. Now it’s time for policymakers to deliver that same leadership in the halls of Congress.”