Access to an affordable and equitable education should be a basic human right. Your income or zip code should not determine the quality of your education or determine your future. 

In the Senate, I will be a vocal advocate for reducing the cost burden of higher education, expanding investments in early childhood education, and protecting attacks on education from far-right extremists looking to rewrite our history. When California elects me as their next Senator, they will have a steadfast fighter for education access and standards.

Barbara Lee

Cancel Student Debt
Lee’s personal experiences of going through college, while on public assistance  as a single mom, have informed her continued advocacy to relieve Californians suffering the same burden.

In the Senate, Lee will fight against returning to the failed status quo, securing total debt relief for millions of students across the country, starting with passing her co-sponsored College For All Act, which would eliminate $1.6 trillion in student debt for 45 million Americans.

Lee will also push the administration to cancel student loans and pay for it by cutting the bloated Pentagon budget.

Make Public and Community College Free For All

Education should be a right afforded to all Americans. 

While working to ensure all students can study at universities of their choice with limited debt, Lee will also work to make public colleges and universities free. 

This will be paid for by passing her Tax on Wall Street Speculation Act, which would impose a tax of a fraction of a percent on trades of stocks, bonds, and derivatives. This Wall Street speculation tax, also known as a financial transaction tax, will raise up to $2.4 trillion in revenue, combating corporate greed to expand opportunities for students to receive a college education without being saddled with debt

Expand Apprenticeship Programs and Alternative Education

Not everyone wants or has the means to go to a four year college. It’s therefore also important to invest in apprenticeship programs nationwide.

In the Senate, Lee will fight to pass the National Apprenticeship Act of 2020, which creates one million new apprenticeship opportunities on top of the current expected growth of the apprenticeship system. It would also yield $10.6 billion in benefits to U.S. taxpayers, by increasing workers’ productivity and decreasing spending on public-assistance programs and unemployment insurance. 

Invest In Public K-12 Schools

As a product of California’s public education system, Lee understands the necessity of early childhood education and high-quality public schools for thriving communities. In the Senate, Lee will be a vocal opponent of right-wing billionaire-funded efforts to privatize education and make drastic cuts to public schools.  Through the Appropriations process, she will invest in public schools, encourage higher teacher salaries, and support mental health services in schools.

Building on her successful negotiations in the Appropriations education subcommittee, Lee will continue to put federal funding for public schools and after-school programs front and center. She will additionally target a radical increase in Title I funding in her first term to ensure at-risk schools most impacted by funding cuts get the support they need and protect public schools across the nation from book bans proposed by right-wing extremists.

Lee will also focus on establishing a per-pupil spending floor — a critical measure in ensuring no student is faced with fewer resources simply because they live in a less affluent community.

Bring Free Pre-K Nationwide

Lee wants to bring universal Pre-K nationwide. Some studies have shown these early years can have long-term impacts over the course of their lives, influencing factors from criminal activity to drug use to mental health. High quality preschool and early interventions in child poverty would have a transformative impact on low-income families. Lee plans to champion legislation to fund universal pre-kindergarten programs to bring high-quality, free, and inclusive preschool programs to all children.