Julian Castro on Education



Nationwide expansion of universal pre-K

As mayor, Castro proposed Prek4SA, a universal pre-K program, in exchange for an eighth-cent sales tax increase, per the Washington Post. Castro wants to expand universal pre-K to the entire country.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Apr 22, 2019

Invest in public schools, pre-K through higher ed

The thing that I'm most proud of was that when I was mayor of San Antonio, we took to the voters a ballot initiative to raise the sales tax by an eighth of a cent to expand high quality full-day Pre-K for our 4-year-olds. Science is very clear that if you have a dollar to invest in education, the best time to invest it is when a child is young. We need universal Pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds in our country.

We have to improve K-12 education by investing in our public schools, paying teachers what they deserve, making sure that the needs of a child can be met at the school that they attend. We need to make higher education universal, so that people can go to a public university, community college, and apprenticeship program, some sort of job training program, at least tuition free so that everybody gets the knowledge and the skills that they need to compete.

Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 11, 2019

Extended Pre-K education for needy kids

Castro's signature mayoral accomplishment was his "Brainpower Initiative," later changed to "Pre-K 4 SA" and passed by ballot measure in 2012. The initiative raised the sales tax by an eighth of one cent to pay for extending early childhood education to thousands of mostly impoverished four-year-olds. Castro initiated and relentlessly campaigned for the measure.
Source: Jacobin Magazine on 2020 Democratic primary contenders , Feb 15, 2019

Two free years of higher education

Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 12, 2019

Attended Catholic school and public elementary school

Mom had attended sixteen years of Catholic school, and while she opposed corporal punishment and didn't regularly attend church, she had appreciated the quality and stability that a Catholic school education had afforded her.

In 1985, my brother and I transferred to St. Mary's Catholic School for fifth grade. After the first month, my head began to feel like a balloon expanding, but unable to pop. Joaquin was fine, but I was reacting to something in that school atmosphere, and the physical pressure was too much. By Christmas break, I was popping two Tylenols a day. [We] mounted a campaign to get out of St. Mary's School. Although we loved Mom and wanted to please her, we were clearly not happy there.

Mom thoughtfully listened to our arguments, she relented in late spring. While our arguments were persuasive, I've come to realize that Mom's decision to put us back in public school was based more on her inability to afford the tuition at St. Mary's.

Source: An Unlikely Journey, by Julian Castro, p. 59-63 , Oct 16, 2018

Our most chronic problem is inequity in education

It made my blood boil to think about the differences in opportunity among my Stanford classmates. Joaquin and I essentially had to forge our own path to Stanford ourselves while so many classmates were essentially put on a path to Palo Alto from very early on. They were all smart, deserving students who mostly worked hard to get there, but given the disparity in economic backgrounds, nobody could look at the routes taken to Stanford and say that they were equitable.

This inequity in our country's education system has never stopped seeming like one of our most chronic problems. It is painful to think of a kid forced to swim upstream, only to arrive at the same spot as somebody who had the opportunity placed in front of him.

Still, we'd gotten into Stanford, and now the rest was up to us. We didn't have the academic background that many of our classmates did, but we made up for that with sheer effort.

Source: An Unlikely Journey, by Julian Castro, p.106-7 , Oct 16, 2018

Graduated high school early to attend Stanford & Harvard Law

Looking back, my family's story almost feels like a lab experiment in the difference an education makes. My grandmother never forgave the theft of her education, and her daughter watched as that lack of education boxed her mother into a life of menial jobs. The daughter in turn struggled to raise us and stay above the poverty line, but she still found a way to complete her master's degree. Joaquin and I skipped a grade to graduate early while almost a third of our high school classmates dropped out. Then we travelled as a pair to one of the top law schools in the country, even though few in our social orbit had trod that path before. Being open and at the same time pushing oneself to get an education can be as beneficial as the education itself.

But part of that education is knowing how to fit the pursuit of knowledge into a balanced life. After Joaquin and I were accepted into Harvard, we decided to take a year off and be at home with Mom.

Source: An Unlikely Journey, by Julian Castro, p.138-9 , Oct 16, 2018

Money for education is investment, not charity

In San Antonio we're working to ensure that more four-year-olds have access to pre-K. We opened Cafe College, where students get help with everything from test prep to financial aid paperwork. We know that you can't be pro-business unless you're pro-education. We know that pre-K and student loans aren't charity. They're a smart investment in a workforce that can fill and create the jobs of tomorrow. We're investing in our young minds today to be competitive in the global economy tomorrow.
Source: Speech at 2012 Democratic National Convention , Sep 4, 2012

SERVE SA: 1,500 new volunteers to read in grade schools

Answer the call to help us reach the bold education-related SA 2020 goals set by thousands of San Antonians just like you. This school year, SERVE SA will deploy more than 1,500 new volunteers to read to 2nd graders, mentor middle school students to inspire and prepare them for college, and help students fill out their financial aid paperwork.

Every day in our community opportunities exist for you to make a difference. We each have it within our power to change the trajectory of San Antonio.

Source: City of San Antonio Mayoral website, "SERVE SA" , Dec 1, 2011

Take "Race to the Top" Funds despite governor's refusal

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro rejected Gov. Rick Perry's rationale for refusing to apply for Race to the Top education grants, which could have been worth $700 million to the state's schools. "I would have taken the Race to the Top money if I was mayor dogcatcher, or whatever," Castro said. He shrugged off the notion that the potential windfall came with too many strings attached because, he said, "all federal money comes with strings attached."

Castro's advice to cities and communities that want federal funding but, due to friction between the state and the federal government, might find it hard to come by it was to cut out the middle man. "You need to make a direct pitch to the administration," he said.

Of course, another option is to change the middle man. The San Antonio mayoralty may be non-partisan, but Castro is a Democrat--and he thinks his party might have a shot in at least one statewide race this year: "With Gov. Perry," said Castro, "that's a race that will be very close."

Source: Reeve Hamilton in Texas Tribune, "Race to the Top" , Feb 17, 2010

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Page last updated: Jun 24, 2019