By Dan FroomkinThe news media, from the front page of The New York Times to a national television station’s website, has a long history of reporting on the importance of education and learning, but how many times has the media mentioned it?
In the past, the idea of “teach-to-take” became a rallying cry for the American dream of upward mobility.
And it has been the theme of several prominent stories since then.
Now it seems that the idea may be becoming a rallying call for those in the U.S. working to make it easier for people of all backgrounds to learn, work, and be fulfilled.
In February, a new law passed the House of Representatives requiring that students who are poor must attend schools where they have access to a computer and the Internet.
It was the result of a bipartisan coalition of congressional Democrats, Republicans, and independents, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who championed it.
A year later, in March, the Senate passed the Educational Opportunity for All Act of 2017, which would require states to provide free or subsidized online education to students from low-income families, including students who can’t afford a computer.
And in June, the House passed an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that would require parents to get their children enrolled in high-quality, state-funded preschool programs, similar to the federal programs that students in New York City get through their state schools.
While it was a bipartisan effort to make college more affordable for low- and moderate-income students, the legislation was opposed by many business leaders and conservative organizations that opposed the idea as well as many parents and teachers who worry that it would undermine a traditional “teacher to child” model that has worked for decades to bring education into the 21st century.
In a recent piece for the Washington Post, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr., a leading voice for education reform, said that he was “delighted” that lawmakers “are finally listening to the concerns of families and educators about the cost of college, and the burden of college debt, and how that can make students unprepared for the job market.”
“And they are taking that issue seriously,” he continued.
“I hope this bill, and other like it, will be signed into law by President Donald Trump.”
A study by the National Center for Education Statistics, which analyzes student performance in higher education, found that the share of students who said they would attend college this year has dropped from 70% in 2000 to just 20% in 2017.
But it is unclear what the results of the study might mean for the future.
“It is not yet clear what impact the new laws and their amendments will have on students’ ability to attend college,” said Kristin A. Brown, director of the center’s Higher Education Center.
“We are already seeing a dramatic drop in enrollments and the number of students attending school, and that trend has continued into the next few years.”
The Trump administration, in a report released in July, said it would increase funding for Pell Grants and federal scholarships to help low- to moderate- income students attend college.
And Trump’s nominee to head the Education Department, Betsy DeVos, said in a speech in September that the federal government should “take action” to help students who don’t have access through private or public scholarships and that the Department of Education should also focus on expanding high-need preschools, which are currently being closed to students.
The Trump Administration has also proposed cutting funding for the Ulysses S. Grant Scholarship, which gives students who qualify for free or reduced-price college tuition an extra $1,500 in their college tuition payments over the next two years.
And the Department and the Education and Science Education Research Council, which has been spearheading a push to promote more diverse and inclusive learning, have issued a report that predicts that “the federal government will lose $1.3 trillion over the coming decade because of student loan defaults and other underperformance on our nation’s public universities.”
A spokesperson for the Trump Administration told The New Yorker that the administration will work to find new ways to help the students and families who are struggling to pay for college.
“This administration is committed to working with states to create opportunities for students to attend and thrive in higher ed,” said Sarah Binder, a spokesperson for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
“The Department of Justice will continue to provide resources to assist states in this effort.”
However, even as these efforts have been announced, many states have been grappling with the challenges of making college more accessible.
A new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that “high school graduation rates have declined significantly since 2000, and students are entering college with less education, with more debt, less skills, and lower aspirations than ever before.”
Many states have already implemented new rules for students and their parents to ensure that the transition to college is smooth, but students say that they are still