The Democratic National Convention built upon issues largely unaddressed at the Republican convention by emphasizing the importance of expanding Pell Grants and college tax credits.
The party made an effort to reach out to younger voters at this year’s convention by urging them to vote and take a hold of their future. The convention hosted a range of speakers including up-and-coming politicians like Julian Castro, celebrities like Scarlett Johansson and Kal Penn, professors and students.
On the second night of the convention, former president Bill Clinton added to the momentum.
“If you want every American to vote, and you think it’s wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama,” Clinton said Sept. 5 at the convention.
While Republicans praise presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s extensive business background and believe it will restore the American economy, Democrats have a different approach.
According to the Brookings Institution, Detroit’s manufacturing sector grew 10 percent between the second quarter of 2010 and that of 2011. While statistics show cities in the Rust Belt are economically recovering, analysts know this will not be sustainable in the long term. According to the same report, 43 percent of job openings nationally in 2012 require a bachelor’s degree or more. By stressing education and making it more accessible, President Barack Obama is creating a plan for steady, enduring growth that will pull the economy out of its current state.
“So, help me,” Obama said at the Sept. 6 convention. “Help me recruit a hundred thousand math and science teachers within 10 years and improve early childhood education. Help give 2 million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job. Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next 10 years.”
Creating manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is extremely important. However, the focus of global economic competition has transitioned from industrialization to innovation. If the United States cannot provide the means to receive a solid education, it will fall behind sooner than expected to rising economic powers such as China and India, who are investing billions into math and science programs.
“And, after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the drop-out rate so much that we’ve fallen to 16th in the world in the percentage of our young adults with college degrees, (Obama’s) student loan reform lowers the cost of federal student loans and, even more importantly, gives students the right to repay the loans as a fixed percentage of their incomes for up to 20 years,” Clinton said Sept. 5 at the convention. “That means no one will have to drop out of college for fear they can’t repay their debt, and no one will have to turn down a job, as a teacher, a police officer or a small town doctor, because it doesn’t pay enough to make the debt payments. This will change the future for young Americans.”
If the United States wants to compete on an international level, it needs to better prepare itself and future generations through education. To do that, it needs someone who understands the value of education, not someone who expects students to be able to afford education without additional aid.
—Ravi Venkataraman is a creative writing masters student.