In a town hall meeting in San Antonio on this week, Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education expressed his frustration that the DREAM Act still has not passed while he continued to promote the Obama Administration’s incentive program, Race to the Top.
Speaking to a variety of high school students, college officials, and area democrats in the main room of Café College, Duncan, along with San Antonio’s mayor, Julián Castro, discussed the hopeful passing of the DREAM Act as well as the goal to keep colleges affordable for students.
Duncan stated to the crowd of 150, that it was a necessity for the DREAM act to become law. This act, which did not pass Congress last year, would create a route to citizenship for those children here illegally yet planning on going to college or serving in the military. Duncan continued to say, “The fact that that hasn’t happened yet is a source of immense frustration for the President and I.” He then added, “I just think as a country we are completely backward on this issue.”
Duncan also discussed what the government has done and plans to do in order to keep a college degree financially accessible for all students. He, along with President Obama’s administration, have worked to simplify the completion of originally lengthy and complicated financial aid forms as well as increased many students’ access to college with the Federal Pell grant program.
Duncan hopes to next increase the graduation rate at these higher education institutions. Through the program, Race to the Top, these institutions would compete for federal funding based upon their academic success and graduation rates. The competition, if approved, could provide up to 1 billion dollars in incentives each year.