A new bill would make 2-year colleges debt free. Here's how it would work.

College is expensive. Congress has two very different ideas on how to handle that.

On July 24, House Democrats unveiled the Aim Higher Act, a proposal that would allow people to attend a two-year community college debt-free.

“We want a world where parents do not have to choose between college for their kids or paying the rent,” said Rep. Susan Davis (D-California).


Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

In short, the proposal would force states and the federal government to work together, simplifying the application process for financial aid, increasing funding for Pell grants, improving protections against predatory lenders, and increasing outreach to underserved communities like Native Americans.

Democrats say their proposal is a response to a competing bill from House Republicans called the PROSPER Act, which also seeks to simplify the financial aid process but would also cut federal funding for at least two major aid programs by $15 billion over the next decade. It came about one day after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed cutting back debt relief options for students who have been defrauded by predatory lenders.

Political observers say the Aim Higher Act isn’t likely to make serious progress in the current session of Congress. So, why did Democrats even propose it?

Congress is up for grabs in November 2018, and we’re starting to see what Democrats would do if they win control.

Historically, the party that wins the White House usually loses seats in Congress during the next midterm election. And with President Donald Trump’s low-approval ratings, there’s a lot of talk about Democrats potentially taking control of the House, though the Senate is still considered a long shot.

In light of that, a potential Democratic agenda is slowly starting to take shape. Along with the Aim Higher Act, Democrats in Congress recently launched the "Medicare for All" caucus committed to a proposal that would essentially replace Obamacare with universal health care. It already has 70 members and a formal proposal with official support from 120 Democrats in Congress.

“It’s an opportunity for us,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) said. “There has never been a coordinated effort to share information around the prospect of ‘Medicare for All.’ This is historic.”

That doesn’t mean either of those bills will ever become law. Trump is still president and has threatened to veto any universal health care bills Congress sends to him.

But if power in Congress is split after the 2018 midterms, it’s likely Democrats and Republicans will be under pressure to work together to get legislation passed. At the very least, voters are starting to get a clearer picture of what their vote in November could actually mean.

The issue of high cost higher education is just one of the issues that both sides agree needs a solution.

Democrats and Republicans may not agree on the answer but there seems to at least be a near consensus about the problem.

Offering solutions that lift up those in need is something our government should be doing more of, and these kinds of policy moves are giving people something to vote for instead of just another thing to vote against.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.