- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Rep. Tim Ryan on Tuesday vowed to be the “education president” if elected to the White House and said he will soon roll out a comprehensive education reform plan as he talked up the importance of social and emotional well-being among students.

“I will push, and promote, and be introducing very soon a robust education reform bill,” the Ohio Democrat said during an appearance at a “Politics and Eggs” event hosted by Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester.

“I will be the education president, and it starts with dealing with the root cause, which is our kids come to school in trauma,” Mr. Ryan said.

He said 50 percent of children who attend public school are low-income and have to deal with trauma-causing adverse experiences such as divorce and job loss.

“All these adverse childhood experiences literally prevent your brain from accessing what they call the prefrontal cortex, your executive functions, the area of the brain you need to learn — literally does not work when you’re in fight or flight mode,” he said.

“So I will be pushing social and emotional learning programs, trauma-based care programs in our schools, making sure that every school has a mental health counselor to help our kids deal with this,” said Mr. Ryan, who has also written extensively on the practice of mindfulness and talks up the benefits of yoga and meditation.

He said studies have shown that such programs can help close the achievement gap and increase positive behavior in children.

“These programs are out there. The problem is the federal government is broke. The current president has no clue about these things, and no one’s talking about it,” Mr. Ryan said.

“I’m telling you if you’re looking for something different, if you’re looking to actually get these things that are working all around the United States, I’m your guy. We’re going to do this,” he added.

Mr. Ryan also said there should be “robust” vocational training in K-12 schools.

“Telling everybody in the United States for 30 years that you got to go to college or you’re a worthless citizen was probably the wrong way to go,” he said. “That was the biggest farce sold to the American people, and now we have millions of people in debt for going to college.”

Mr. Ryan, who has emphasized working-class issues in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, hasn’t yet broken through in a big way in public polling on the race.

He said his message might not be for everyone.

“I may ruffle a few feathers, and I may have some coastal Democrats, Ivy League Democrats that may not like what I’m saying, but I’m going to speak the truth as I see it and I feel it,” Mr. Ryan said. “And we’re going to move forward together: business, labor, education, federal, state, local. The best ideas out there — were going to scale [them] up.”

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