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Marco Rubio Vows to Revive American Dream, Discusses Education Reform

First Posted: May 11, 2015 03:30 PM EDT
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Photo : Richard Ellis / Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio, one of the Republican Party's candidates for the 2016 presidential nomination, released a short piece on the American Dream Monday morning. In it he vows to fight for Americans struggling to achieve the American Dream.

The Florida senator opens up his short piece reminiscing about his dying grandfather and how, on his death bed, a young Marco Rubio promised to study and make something of himself. He succeeded, Sen. Rubio writes, becoming the man he is today. However, younger Americans continue to struggle to achieve the American Dream.

Sen. Rubio writes about Jennifer, a young woman from Miami struggling to succeed in life despite the fact "she has played by the rules."

"When Jennifer was growing up, her father always told her that an education was the key to a life better than his own. She took him at his word, worked hard and went to Florida International University," the senator wrote. "Four years ago, she graduated with a degree in public administration. She was the first in her family to go to college."

One of this statement's focuses is education. Sen. Rubio writes Jennifer fears mounting debt if she pursues a postgraduate education. The Republican candidate has made college loan cost and reform a mainstay of his presidential campaign, including it in his first campaign speech.

"They look for solutions in yesterday, so they don't see that good-paying modern jobs require different skills and more education than the past," he said in his April speech referring to current government leaders.

"They blindly support an outdated higher education system that is too expensive and inaccessible to those who need it most."

Speaking at the Faith and Freedom Summit in Iowa in late April, Sen. Rubio continued explaining his stance on higher education.

"We can no longer afford to graduate people from school with loans and degrees that do not lead to jobs," he said. "And, that is why I believe, before any of our young people take out student loans, that school will have to tell you how much you can expect to make when you graduate with that degree from that school. So people can decide whether it's worth borrowing tens of thousands of dollars to major in basket weaving."

Sen. Rubio has advocated reforming the loan system, backing a bill with Republican Rep. Tom Petri to start an income-share program for students, in which "investors provide students with money for school in exchange for a percentage of their income for a set period of time after graduation."

He also supported the Dynamic Repayment Act, which did not survive the legislature, with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

However, as the National Review Online highlights, Sen. Rubio has failed to address the increasing cost of higher education, focusing only on how those costs can be paid.

In his campaign speech he railed against expensive tuition but the legislature he has supported has not addressed this issue, which would help countless of Jennifers seek Master's and PhD's, as well as lessen the brunt of undergraduate loan debt.

"She has none of the confidence, held by earlier generations of Americans, that investing in herself through education will pay off in the job market," Sen. Rubio wrote. But, despite living in "a country that has always prided itself on offering an equal opportunity" for all he fears the American Dream "is slipping further and further out of reach for millions of Americans like Jennifer."

Among Latinos, a group Sen. Rubio wishes to appeal to as the son of Cuban immigrants, the American Dream focuses also in education, though indirectly. A poll by Latino Decisions and the National Council of La Raza found 95 percent of respondents also said "Creating opportunities for our children" were important to achieve the American Dream.

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