- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke on Wednesday released a plan intended to close socioeconomic gaps in schools across the country, including a $500 billion fund to address what his campaign called a “structural inequity” in the country’s education system.

“Sixty-five years after Brown v. Board of Education, and America’s schools still remain segregated,” said Mr. O’Rourke, a former congressman from Texas. “The effects of a system where students of color are disciplined at alarmingly higher rates than white students, where funding favors white school districts over nonwhite districts, or where white teachers far outnumber black teachers live on well beyond students leaving the classroom.”

Mr. O’Rourke’s campaign said there is an annual $23 billion funding gap between “predominantly white and predominantly non-white” school districts.

The plan also entails a federal ban on corporal punishment in schools, money for schools to implement “restorative justice” programs, and a requirement for teacher prep programs “to address racial bias and cultural competency.”

Mr. O’Rourke would also put $500 million per year into a new program designed to create “teacher academies” at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).

He also wants to increase pay for teachers and forgive their outstanding student loans.

Mr. O’Rourke released his plan ahead of a scheduled appearance in Detroit, Michigan, at a presidential candidate forum that’s part of the NAACP’s annual national convention.

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