The CARES Act provided an infusion of crucial funding for child care, Head Start, K–12 education, and relief for college students and student borrowers. Transparency and oversight are urgently needed to ensure that these measures are implemented appropriately and fairly for all students and parents. Looking forward, schools throughout the country have closed and will likely stay closed for months. This will widen academic achievement gaps and place students with few resources at risk of falling further behind, affecting their development and future well-being. I therefore ask that future investments in education include:
Early child learning for migrant families.
Congress should address the unique needs of farmworker children whose parents continue to work to provide food for the country, but whose places of learning have closed due to the pandemic. Future relief efforts should include targeted and robust funding for the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program, which provides services for young children of farmworkers and is critical to Latinos, who represent 94% of enrollees.
Stronger student debt relief.
While the CARES ACT will help student loan borrowers in the short-term, it does not help student borrowers reduce their amount of debt. Previous proposals related to emergency relief, which included up to a $10,000 reduction of debt throughout the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, deserve Congress' support. Reducing the amount of debt owed would strengthen borrowers' ability to recover financially and pay the remainder of their loans.