Democrats emphasized President Obama’s dedication to education on the second day of the Democratic National Convention Wednesday — an issue particularly important to crucial women voters.
Speakers stressed Obama’s work on education, particularly his expansion of the Pell grant program, and compared the president’s priorities to the cuts they argued Mitt Romney’s policies would impose.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan described the steps Obama has taken to improve education.
“Our president knows education is about jobs. It’s about giving every child a shot at a secure middle-class life,” Duncan said. “Right now, we’re in a race for jobs and industries of the future. If countries like China out-educate us today, they’ll out-compete us tomorrow.”
Duncan spoke to the strides Obama has made toward student loan reform and making college more accessible to young people — another crucial constituency in November.
He fought to keep student loan interest rates from going up. He fought for Pell grants. He took the big banks out of the federal student loan program and passed billions of dollars in savings on to young people. This year alone, he helped nearly 10 million students afford college.
Duncan also lit into Romney and Paul Ryan, arguing they would cut American investment in education. “Under the Romney-Ryan budget, education would be cut by as much as 20 percent,” Duncan said. “In order to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires, Gov. Romney will cut education for our children.”
To bring the point home, a Florida college student, Johanny Adames, described her support for Obama on stage. A student at Miami Dade College who became a U.S. citizen this year, Adames said that the Pell Grant program made it possible for her to attend college.
“But Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to cut the Pell grants that make my future possible,” Adames said. “If they won’t invest in my future, do they really believe in America’s?”
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.