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Jun 10 2017
by Trevor Falsey

Jon Ossoff's Promise for College Students

By Trevor Falsey - Jun 10 2017
Democrats nationwide have been paying close attention to the 6th District special election in Georgia, hoping that the election of Jon Ossoff would push a more progressive political narrative in Congress. This would show the potential for Democrats to win more representation in Congress during the 2018 midterm elections and combat Republican policies, specifically regarding health care, civil rights and redistricting.

During this heated election, one major issue that is rarely discussed is education. As college students, we all know and understand the value of education and its importance. Under the Trump Administration, Betsy DeVos’ policies support the idea that the richer you are, the more deserving you are of not only higher education, but even decent education at the K-12 levels. This is shown by Devos aspiring for school choice (despite criticisms of racism), private school vouchers, reauthorizing the Higher Education Act and refusing to commit to the long-standing policy of borrower defense to repayment (which protected and helped people who took out student loans). By doing all of this, DeVos has made it clear that minority and low-income students are not supported during this administration.

Ossof's political opponent, Karen Handel, has shown such indifference to the importance of education that her education policy does not even appear on her campaign website. Jon Ossoff, on the other hand, reveals on his campaign website that he wants to work to make college more affordable, claiming “student debt shouldn’t prevent young Americans from saving, investing in their careers and reaching their potential."

Considering this, as college students looking for support, it is extremely important that Ossoff wins this election. Karen Handel minimizes the importance of education, and her defense of DeVos’ policies will make it more complicated for lower-income students to complete a higher education. Handel has continually pointed out that Ossoff went to a “fancy private school” (The Paideia School) and went out-of-state for college (to Georgetown and the London School of Economics), yet this simultaneously reveals that Handel herself has no experience with higher education.

So, it leads to the argument: How can Handel understand the hardships of college students and the flaws of the financial aid system if she has never had any experience with the collegiate or financial aid systems herself? In short, she can’t. In face of the current Department of Education, we need someone who knows what they are voting for or against. We need someone who promises to advocate for students because they understand the struggles that students face and we need someone who is willing to not just “follow the leader” (as Handel would do) but instead fight for what is right. 

Lead Image Credit: Eric Bailey

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Trevor Falsey - Sarah Lawrence College

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