Building the Best Primary Educational System in the World
According to the Pearson Report, 13 nations have better educational systems in place than the United States. While the implementation of the Common Core Standards have been a noble attempt to better prepare our students to compete in the global economy, the fact remains that we can still do better. Across the country, parents and teachers alike have expressed concerns that our nation is placing too heavy an emphasis on the importance of standardized testing, oftentimes at the expense of students whose unique or creative talents can’t be quantified using test scores. Simultaneously, a number of states are allowing for inaccurate and/or biased information to be included in their textbooks to appease certain religious and ideological factions of the American conservative movement.
Here at American Millennials, we believe that every American student not only deserves a fair and honest education, but the best education available in the world, and support federal legislation to make sure that vision becomes true within the next ten years. The legislation we’re proposing would require the following:
- All textbooks published in the United States must be audited for scientific and historic accuracy, with significant fines for both publishers and states that allow factually incorrect, scientifically inaccurate, or historically inaccurate information in educational materials.
- Funding a nation-wide audit of every state’s educational systems, as well as the successes and failures of the Common Core standards, so that necessary improvement and adjustments can be identified and acted upon.
- The inclusion of, and adequate funding for, art and music programs in all state-run educational systems.
- The inclusion of personal finance in high school academic curriculum.
- Universal caps on the time athletic programs can require of student-athletes.
- All primary schools, including religiously-operated private schools, must be required to provide age-appropriate, medically-accurate, comprehensive sex education to their students. While private schools must remain free to educate their students in the specific tenets of their religion with respect to sexuality and morality, any failure to also provide students with medically and scientifically accurate information should be grounds for losing any religiously-based tax exemptions.
Replacing Student Loans with Universal Higher Education
Student loan debt in the United States now exceeds $1.2 trillion, with the majority of that debt in the form of federal student loans. Not only is this debt a burden on the American economy, it’s a burden on the lives of America’s students, many of whom find themselves trapped in lifelong debt following their graduation. Consequently, our system of student loans has evolved into little more than a nation-wide system of “financial enslavement.”
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. A number of first-world nations have already demonstrated the value of offering free education to their citizens, and at least five are already offering tuition-free education to international students.
While private educational institutions should remain free to charge whatever tuition they deem appropriate, the time has come for the United States to shift the financial burden of higher education from our current model utilizing student loans to a new model build on public funding of state-run universities and vocational training centers.
The University of the United States
Transitioning our nation’s public higher education system from loan-funded educational model to a publicly-financed model will take time. That’s why American Millennials is proposing the immediate creation of a national online university, known as the University of the United States, designed to extend the opportunity of affordable higher education (or vocational training) to every United States citizen as a guaranteed right of citizenship. This online university should provide US citizens with access to a bachelors-level university education for free, and a variety of affordable graduate programs. Non-citizens should be given access to the system for a nominal fee. In addition to providing educational resources, this online university should include an integrated database of employment opportunities for those individuals who have completed certain courses or degrees.
Sexual Education Reform Act
Did you know that the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any developed nation? Or that 37 states allow for medically inaccurate sex education? Or how about the fact that only 18 states require teachers to provide information about contraception?
Young Americans deserve better than to be lied to and mislead, and that’s why American Millennials supports the passage of federal legislation known as the Sexual Education Reform Act requiring every state, district and territory of the United States to make age appropriate sex & relationship education and information compulsory in all schools, including private schools.
While religiously-based private schools must remain free to educate students on the religious tenants of their specific religion regarding sexuality, this legislation would require such schools to also provide their students with medically-accurate information regarding sex and relationships. Any educational institutions that attempt to circumvent these requirements should face significant fines and the loss of any tax-free status they may enjoy if setup as a religiously-based institution.
Despite the fact that some religious institutions will disagree with this proposed legislation, providing medically accurate information to young Americans who are coming of age is a critically important to reducing the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), teen pregnancy, and unintended pregnancies taking place outside of marriage.
To find out if your state is behind the times on sexual education, check out the map below, as well as some of the other policy maps depicting state sexual education laws, which were recently published on the Huffington Post.
Collegiate Athletic Reform Act
In recent decades, collegiate sports has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry. While this development has provided a significant source of revenue for certain colleges and universities, it has systematically taken advantage of student athletes by categorizing them as amateur-athletes rather than employees. Although schools can extend scholarships to athletes, NCAA athletes are generally prohibited from accepting any form of compensation for their participation in college sports. While this may appear fair on the surface, the training and practice requirements of many collegiate athletic programs can be so excessive that student athletes find themselves overextended, unable to realistically juggle the demands of their academics and employment.
To remedy this growing problem, American Millennials is proposing legislation to protect student athletes from exploitation by the NCAA. This legislation, which we’re referring to as the “Collegiate Athletic Reform Act,” would require the following:
- All NCAA sports would be required to place reasonable limits on the time required of student athletes in a given week, allowing all student athletes adequate time to devote to their academics, employment, and recreation.
- Any NCAA athletes included in NCAA licensed video games must receive reasonable financial compensation for the use of their name, number, and likeness.
- Any NCAA athletes included in broadcast television events must receive reasonable financial compensation for the use of their name, number, and likeness.
- All NCAA compensation to student athletes for video game and broadcast appearances must be equal amongst players of the same sport.