Election day, good ol' November 3, is closer than you think. As voters, we'll start to hear more and more from each of the candidates—current President and his VP Donald Trump, and his Democratic opponent Joe Biden and his VP Kamala Harris—about what their stances are on healthcare, abortion, immigration, gun control, and of course: education.
Despite Biden and Harris working closely now, the pair have clashed in the past on some critical aspects of education policy. While you could wait to hear what Harris has to say at the vice-presidential debate—or you know, just scroll through Twitter—we're doing the hard work for you ahead of time. Here's exactly where Harris stands on education, and the ways in which she's evolved over time.
Where Harris stands on free college:
When Harris was running for President, at a rally in Oakland, California, she stated that if elected she wanted to make community college free and four-year public college debt-free. She also wanted to establish universal pre-K.
"I am running to declare education is a fundamental right, and we will guarantee that right with universal pre-K and debt-free college," said Harris.
Harris has also backed Hawaii Senator Brian Schartz's 2019 Debt-Free College Act. This bill would allow participating states to get a dollar-for-dollar match from the federal government for the funding they disburse for state schools. It would mean that those state schools would have to commit to helping students pay for the full cost of college by using need-based grants to help students stay out of debt. Think of it like the tuition-free idea Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has speaking about for years, but debt-free. Currently, Schartz and Harris are two of nine senators that support this bill.
Where she stands on teacher salaries:
When she was running for President, Harris' plan to increase teacher pay became hugely popular. Her proposal was to raise the average salary of teachers by $13,500.
It isn’t enough to just say our teachers shape the future of our country, we should pay them like it. It’s past time we value and respect their work, compassion, and dedication to our kids.https://t.co/dI7OwuHFPZMarch 24, 2019
When Biden announced Harris as his VP pick, the American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten noted how important Biden's decision was to educators everywhere. In a press release, Weingarten wrote that Harris "is deeply devoted to making life better by improving our public schools, strengthening our voting rights, and protecting the rights of working people to organize."
Where she stands on student loan forgiveness:
More recently, Harris has supported the $10,000 loan forgiveness plan that many Democrats, including her running mate Biden, have supported. She previously had her own loan forgiveness plan that set out to cancel up to $20,000 in student loans for certain groups. The plan received criticism over being too narrow, which explains why she shifted gears in the past couple of weeks.
This is the most important election of our lifetime. With @JoeBiden as president, we'll be able to build an America that lives up to our ideals. pic.twitter.com/q9xVPd2PuFJuly 29, 2020
Harris and other senators have recently called for improving the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program by adopting items from the What You Can Do For Your Country Act. This would mean that anyone who has used as a federal loan or federal repayment plan could receive partial forgiveness after five years instead of the usual ten.
According to the bill summary, it "allows borrowers to contribute a shorter, but still meaningful, period of public service and to ensure they can still receive a benefit from giving back."
Harris and Biden have clashed on the subject.
In June 2019, Harris clashed with Biden's opposition to court-ordered busing for school desegregation at a debate. She said, "There was a little girl in California who was a part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me."
In the next debate, she noted that a majority of schools in the U.S. are segregated by race and socioeconomic status. She said to Biden: "Had I been in the United States Senate at that time, I would've been completely on the other side of the aisle, and let's be clear about this: had those segregationists their way, I would not be a member of the United States Senate. So on that issue, we could not be more apart."
Voter Merch to Help You Spread the Word This November
Mother x I Am a Voter Socks
Thanks to MOTHER, your sock game has never been stronger. Through December 31, 2020, MOTHER will donate $5 of the purchase price from each pair of socks sold to I am a voter.
La Ligne NYC x Cleo Wade F*cking Vote Tee
La Ligne partnered with poet, author, and activist Cleo Wade to create this super cute "F*cking Vote" tee. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go towards Stacey Abrams' Fair Fight to help fight voter suppression.
Everyone was obsessed with Michelle Obama's "Vote" necklace, displayed here, that she wore during her speech at the Democratic National Convention (DNC).
Adult Statement Face Mask (3-Pack)
A denim "Vote" mask? Say less. Gap is donating up to $25,000 each to When We All Vote and Rock the Vote.
This chic "Vote" necklace comes in two styles—one (spaced) retails for $360 and the other (script nameplate) retails for $480. One hundred percent of the proceeds will support the Black Voters Matter Fund dedicated to expanding Black voter engagement by increasing power in marginalized and predominantly Black communities.
Reimagine Your Vote Crop Top
Re—inc's "Reimagine Your Vote" crop top is part of Michelle Obama's Vote 4EVER Merch drop featuring products from Black- and women-owned businesses in support of her nonpartisan organization, When We All Vote. While most of the merch is already sold out, you can take a look at what's still available here.
Speaking of what's still available, that includes this "Vote" hat. Twenty percent of the net sales will be donated to When We All Vote.
For every "Vote 2020" tee sold, Rebecca Minkoff will make a donation to Vote Run Lead, a non-profit organization that empowers and trains women to run for office. (FYI the shirt runs small, so order a size up!)
For every "Vote" mask purchased through November 3, 2020, Banana Republic will donate $5 to Rock the Vote.
Chambray Vote Embroidered Unisex Face Mask
Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from each Fossil embroidered mask purchase will be donated to Team Rubicon—a non-profit that provides relief to those affected by natural disasters and humanitarian crises.
Fifty percent of the proceeds from these cute 14k gold "Vote" earrings will go to organizations that "amplify, celebrate and support Black voices," according to the brand's website.
I am a voter. x Stella and Bow Necklace
From the same brand that brought you the popular "nasty" bracelet in 2016, Stella and Bow will donate $30 from each "Voter" necklace sold to I am a voter.
This Fabletics tee says it best: Exercise! Your! Right! To! Vote! Then tell everybody you know to do the same.
I Vote Necklace
Ten percent of all proceeds from this fun "Watch Out I Vote" necklace will be donated to I am a voter.
Vote Face Masks, Set of 2
Phenomenal Voter Sweatshirt
Meena Harris, niece of Democratic VP nominee Kamala Harris, is the CEO & founder of the Phenomenal brand that supports a range of non-profits, including the Black Futures Lab, Justice for Migrant Women, and The Council on American-Islamic Relations. Purchasing this "Phenomenal Voter" sweatshirt is the perfect way to contribute to Harris' brand, as well as these other organizations.
Resistance by Design partnered with Fair Fight Founder Stacey Abrams to create this purple "Vote" mask, seen on everyone from Rep. Ayanna Pressley to Megan Rapinoe. Fair Fight will be donating a portion of the proceeds to the Southern Center for Human Rights.
CV x When We All Vote Canvas Tote
Clare V. partnered with When We All Vote to create this chic canvas tote. Ten percent of the purchase price will be donated to the nonpartisan non-profit, which is co-chaired by former first lady Michelle Obama, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monáe, and more incredible people.
When We All Vote's mission is to "increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American."
Voting Stars Flats
Birdies launched its limited-edition collection of hand-painted leather flats, available in five different styles, in collaboration with creative studio Leftys Right Mind to encourage people to register to vote.
I Am a Voter Hat
I am a voter is a non-profit organization working to inspire people to vote and participate in democracy. The org's "I am a voter" hat will help remind people that they, too, can be a voter. After all, a true democracy only exists when we all vote.
November is coming, which means you'll probably get a lot of use out of this beanie once October arrives.
#TheTeeInVote Long Sleeve
Find a chicer crew neck than this Michael Stars long sleeve with an illustration of writer, activist, and feminist organizer Gloria Steinem's face in the corner. According to the brand, $50,000 of sales will benefit grassroots organizations led by women of color, including Black Voters Matter, Voto Latino, and March On.
When We All Vote x Brother Vellies Canvassing Sneakers
Brother Vellies teamed up with Keds to create cute sneakers that say "when we all vote" on the side. Brother Vellies will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to When We All Vote.
Help spread the word and provide 10 school meals to kids in need when you purchase this FEED vote tote. A portion of proceeds will also go towards When We All Vote.
I Am a Voter Sweatpants
These sweatpants were made for quarantine. Through Election Day, Richer Poorer will donate 50 percent of the purchase price of these sweatpants to I am a voter (up to $8,960).
Big Ballot Energy Sweater
Don't mind me—I'll just be living in this hand-stitched "Big Ballot Energy" cashmere sweater from Lingua Franca NYC all the way through November.
Vote Graphic Unisex Tee
Found: a cute unisex tee where all proceeds will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Vote Face Mask
Support the Human Rights Campaign and keep your neighbors safe by purchasing this vote face mask. It's a win-win for everybody.
Raise your hand if you will be swapping your ankle socks for these thick, comfy vote socks for the foreseeable future
One-hundred percent of the net proceeds of Tory Burch's vote T-shirt will benefit Eighteen x 18, a platform to engage our generation founded by Yara Shahidi.
Levi's x Vote Cropped Surf Tee Shirt
Pre-pandemic, this Levi's cropped vote tee would have been an ideal shirt to wear with a leather jacket to the bar. The brand has teamed up with Rock the Vote for a larger initiative to get the word out, and your purchase is a part of it.
Vote QR Code Tote
Technology! This QR code tote directly links to Vote.gov to encourage people to register to vote. A portion of the proceeds also go to I am a voter.
Vote Short Sleeve
Lingua Franca has so many good voter merch options that it was hard to choose between the "Big Ballot Energy" sweater and this cashmere "Vote" short sleeve shirt.
Rosario Dawson and Mira Sorvino have been spotted wearing this "Vote" charm from Alex Woo. It's available in two options with quite a dramatic price difference: The silver charm is $148 and the 14k gold charm is $648. As they say, a timeless piece!
"V Is for Vote" T-Shirt
Although this super cute T-shirt from Read Receipts UK is currently sold out (a portion of the proceeds are donated to She Should Run), do yourself a favor and continue to check the brand's website for a restock. In the meantime, take two minutes to register to vote here.
Bianca Rodriguez is the Fashion & Luxury Commerce Manager at Hearst Magazines, covering fashion, beauty, and more for Cosmopolitan, Elle, Esquire, Harper’s BAZAAR, and Town & Country. She likes lounging about with a good book and thinks a closet without platform sneakers is a travesty.
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