Pre-K to Ph.D., A Net-Zero-Cost Plan to Expand Public Education
I believe our nation has been blessed with the power of being a world influencer. But with great power comes great responsibility. A responsibility to be good caretakers and stewards of the world. But never at the expense of what is best for the American people.
In ancient Rome, the most successful city-states were the ones that understood that a well-educated population was critical to its survival. They did everything possible to ensure their people received the best education possible. Nothing existed to discourage people from getting an education. They understood that there was no logical reason to discourage anyone from pursuing an education.
Our Great Society should do the same.
The Failed Approaches
In America, we have looked at this problem the wrong way. Politicians have explained how there is no money to finance the expansion of public education, but it’s because they’re thinking like a politician and not an innovative visionary.
The prevailing wisdom is that you need buildings, classrooms, desks, chairs, and professors to educate the masses.
John Anthony’s Plan for America
Music class taught by John Mayer and Adam Levine. Science class taught by Bill Nye and Neil Degrasse Tyson. Civics and social studies taught by MIT’s Noam Chomsky. Math taught by Fields Medal winner John Griggs Thompson. Psychology taught by Elliot Aronson. The best of the best in every field. Full and complete courses from start to finish. All available at the University of the American Citizen Online.
I am proposing a plan for the largest expansion of public education in the history of the United States. To give every American the opportunity to pursue a college education regardless of their socioeconomic background. A well-educated people to bring on the Roaring 20s and make America the intellectual powerhouse of the world. And all of this at a net-zero cost.
Traditionally, when we think of expanding public education, we think of the construction costs for the buildings, vast libraries, thousands of desks and chairs, and all of the classroom equipment; not to mention all of the professors and support staff. Critics of expanding public education frequently cite these outrageous costs and highlight the concern that, in order to pay for these expenses, you have to raise taxes. Guess what? These critics are right that we cannot afford to physically expand public education. But what these grey-haired gurus have failed to take into account is that we no longer live in the 1900s. We are now in the 2020s, and we have the power of the internet to expand digitally.
In comes the University of the American Citizen Online. Modeled largely after the Great Courses Online and MasterClass, UAC Online will hire the best of the best in every field to produce pre-recorded courses that all Americans can benefit from whether learning for personal development or in the pursuit of a formal degree with online quizzes, quarterly tests, and final examinations. Filmmaking by Steven Spielberg. Creative writing by Dan Brown. Physical education by Dwayne Johnson. Economics by Mark Cuban.
UAC Online will not merely be the “free public option” for college education. It will revolutionize education like never before and actually be a competitive force in the education market to rightfully put the status quo of elite universities on notice of the need to innovate. Competition drives performance and innovation. UAC Online will become the leading model of a digital education platform for the entire world.
The basic principle of UAC Online is to assemble our nation’s best, brightest, proven, and most successful in each and every field to ensure a new generation of American citizens will have attained the finest education humanly possible by learning only from those that have unquestionably dominated in their fields. Just as Alexander the Great benefited greatly from having Aristotle as his personal teacher, so too will our American citizens be intellectually empowered with UAC Online.
Why attend the Juilliard School when you can learn how to play the guitar from John Mayer at UAC Online? Why attend Harvard Business School when you can learn business from Mark Cuban and investing from Warren Buffet at UAC Online?
Paying for the Plan
The cost is so minimal that it can be financed with a massive expansion of similar digital-based learning in high-performing public high schools already poised for the transition. This digital transition will allow for a phased-in hiring freeze; meaning that anyone presently pursuing a degree in education will still have opportunities available, but we will eventually phase-out new hires without harming those currently pursuing a career in education. A conservative, incremental transition to digital learning in public high schools will save billions in overhead. These savings will be used to finance UAC Online.
The education budget will not increase by a single dollar. In fact, this new approach to reimagining public education will actually reduce wasteful spending by more wisely and strategically utilizing the existing budget. This will produce enough savings that we can now give our next generation of college graduates the nutrition they need as they study.
Why are we not feeding America’s students? These are our future engineers and doctors, the people who will be caring for us medically when we’re older, and they’re eating ramen noodles for dinner every day while drug dealers have shopping carts full of groceries. With my innovative approach to public education, we can expand the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to cover our nation’s college students.
No American Left Behind
For those already struggling in student loan debt, my answer is an unlimited dollar-for-dollar tax credit (not merely a pathetic deduction) for both student loan interest as well as principal with a full offsetting tax credit after 20 years of employment. Tax-free until student loan debt-free.
The cost of this new tax credit will be financed by overhauling the worst underperforming high schools in America. If a high school has a reputation of being among the worst in our country, we will use all tools at our disposal to compel change, including the use of charter schools to spur new innovative approaches to high school education, but only in the worst underperforming schools where all else has failed. It is unfair to our nation’s children to force them into a system that has failed them with the same failed approaches to their unique problems. We must try everything at our disposal, but within reason to prevent abuse and manipulation in the charter system as social commentators like John Oliver have cited.
Universal Pre-K for Working Parents
Thanks to the internet, iPads, and other technology, children are developing intellectually faster than at any point in human history. Rising living costs that have compelled most families to have both parents working full-time. Daycares charging exorbitant rates based on market demand. All of this has laid the groundwork for an absolute necessity for Universal Pre-K.
This will be paid for by limiting the Child Tax Credit to Americans with social security numbers.
Bringing It All Together
In the final analysis, I built my wealth and company by being innovative and forward-thinking. I don’t think this will work; I know this is the only way to intelligibly expand public education, thwart the student loan debt crisis, and empower American working families with the ability to attain the American Dream.
But I cannot do this without you. And all I need from you is the motivation to take one hour out of a single day to get into your car, drive to your polling station, and cast your vote. If you want change, vote for it.