Presidential Candidate Julián Castro is drawing attention to his comprehensive education proposal ahead of the democratic debate, writes Jonathan Compo.
Julián Castro, in an op-ed for CNN Opinion published this Sunday, July 28, draws attention to his policy record and personal history with the U.S. education system, ahead of the next democratic debate, July 30th. Education is an area that sets Castro apart from the rest of the Democratic field. The call for tuition-free public college may come louder from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s mouths—but Castro’s People First education plan covers more than just higher education.
As mayor of San Antonio, Castro’s signature policy, Pre-K 4 SA, increased the city’s sales tax to fund “high-quality, full-day prekindergarten education.” As president, Castro would expand this vision into Pre-K 4 USA and use tax credits to fund universal prekindergarten education for all US children, ages 3-4.
The National Education Association confirms, early education matters. Opportunities and encouragement given early in a person’s development have outsize effects on later performance. Superior education accessed earlier could, the NEA suggests, reduce drop out rates, crime and work to curb economic inequality.
Pre-K 4 USA, then, represents a more comprehensive attempt to address the root of US educational inequality than does funding post-secondary education. This long-term approach, and the example set by Pre-K 4 SA sets Castro apart from his more prominent contemporaries. Drawing attention to the plan now, will win him some preemptive points going into tomorrow’s debate. The democratic field is still crowded—it appears Castro hopes his calls to universalize early education will help single him out.