Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) continued her presidential campaign in Iowa with a town hall at Simpson College in Indianola on Sunday afternoon.
After her extensive remarks, she took questions.
A question and response on Higher Education:
Question: …My thoughts have been about higher ed. Um, this is an institution that’s pretty key in this community. [Senator Warren: “Yeah.”] Um, has suffered a lot of, uh, layoffs and tumult. [applause] And I also feel like there’s a higher ed arms race. I’m a parent of two high school students. Um, I, I don’t like that you have, that prep, ACT prep is required, that celebrities can have people take children, their children’s tests for them. And that, you were talking about the billion, you talk about the billionaires, that they can donate to each of the Ivy Leagues that they like, that’s not available to me.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D): Um, you’re talking about a great thing. I mean you really are. You’re talking about how the system is rigged. And, and I talk about how it’s rigged in Washington. But the consequences of that are felt all they way through. How, how the children of those who are…rich get one chance, and another, and then another, and then another, and then another, all cushioned by their folks’ money. While other kids, if they’re lucky, may get one shot. May get one shot.
So, let me just pick up on this, okay. If you want to finish the question, it’s okay, but I think I know where you’re going [crosstalk]…
Question: I guess, I guess, I guess I’m thinking what are those things to make this not be contests. And for middle class people to be not spending money, or, be spending money that realistic, do not have. So that their kids [crosstalk]…
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D): So their kids get a chance, too.
Question: Yeah, there we go.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D): So, here’s how I see this. The story I told you about me? I fell of the track. Right? I came from a family with no money. I fell off and I didn’t have a family that could pick me up. They couldn’t get me started and they couldn’t pick me up when I fell off.
But, the American taxpayer, they invested enough in giving me a chance. They invested, way back when, in schools that cost fifty dollars a semester. Okay, it was plain vanilla. It didn’t have a lot of, uh, issues you described as the arms race. It didn’t have a lazy river. [laughter] Uh, but it, it had a really good career education. And that was enough that I got to be a public school teacher. And that was my foot in the door….still available to me in terms of a law school. A chance to enter a profession, on price, okay, no longer maybe a waitressing job, four hundred fifty dollars a semester, yeah, probably.
Look, here’s how I see it, we’ve built the right structures and people thought it should be it. And not just the first chance, that if you follow the path willy nilly. You actually got a second chance, you’ve actually got a third chance. It’s there, those pathways I was talking about earlier. The bridges have narrowed and it’s got a lot of on-ramps. And recognize that some people fall off and they’ve got to get back up on…But that’s how we’ve got to build this. And understand this, we’ve got to build it that way for our kids. We also have to build it that way for the future of our country.
When you think about what it’s going to mean to be the leader of the world in the twenty-first century, how does a country lead the world? Man, the one resource that its got is its human beings. If we educate a quarter of them, we’re just taking a lot of our assets and just not taking advantage of what they can do. If we educate half, we’ll do a little better. If we educate three quarters, we’ll do a lot better. And if we educate all of them, and remember, when I say all I mean all of them, I mean kids who test through the roof and I mean kids like the kids I worked with, who didn’t, but who had something to contribute. We invest in every one of our kids, from the time they’re babies, we get those early education experiences for them. You know, rich parents are doing this for their kids. They don’t wait until the kids are in, uh, kindergarten age to be able to send them to school. They’re sending them at twelve months, at eighteen months, all these, they always have cute names to them, but they’re sending them…And it’s because they understand those babies are learning, learning, learning early. We make that investment, that’s how we build those opportunities.
And then, just to appeal to your inner wonk, if you will go to elizabethwarren.com there’s a lot in it in the education part that’s down at the, really down in the weeds about how we get some accountability back. That our schools really are focused on making sure that we’re getting the kids through school. Not just in the front door, that we’re getting them through school. That they really are able to have, uh, uh, jobs on the other side. It’s got a lot in it. And it’s, and it’s about, not only them, it’s about being realistic, not punitive.
If you’re going to educate kids who come from backgrounds where people weren’t using a lot of words, uh, people who had to use, uh, cheaper child care where they herded a bunch of kids in front of a TV set because it was the best they could do.
We’ve gotta have the resources to be able to make up that difference for our kids.
So, for me, this is about building the future, building the future and realizing the path..is through our children. It’s also about living or values, every single day. And all have value, as a country we should be investing in all of them… [applause]