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Elizabeth Warren Promises to Fund K12 Schools if She’s Elected. Can She Do That?

As I was scrolling through the articles on, I found an interesting article by Ella Nilsen, entitled, “Elizabeth Warren marches with striking Chicago teachers, a day after releasing new K-12 education plan.” Naturally, my curiosity was peaked. You can read Nilsen’s article for yourself here.

Nilsen’s article is largely a summary of Elizabeth Warren’s plan to fund K12 education. Warren, who is currently running for president on the Democratic ticket, has big ideas, but as with all things, it’s important to understand the context of how federal funding works with K12 schools.

First and foremost, the United States Department of Education (USDoE) does not run public schools. They actually have very little control over how schools in the United States operate. That’s because public schools fall under the purview of the states. The majority of funding for public schools comes from states and local municipalities. As Nilsen explains, only a fraction of funding comes from the federal government.

The USDoE may not control schools, but they can influence how they operate by granting (or not granting) money to schools. For K12 schools that are underfunded, this becomes a very motivating carrot to chase. Title 1 and other important funding comes from the USDoE. That’s where Warren wants to support schools.

Can she even do that? Yes, absolutely. The USDoE falls under the Executive Branch, which, if Warren was elected, she would run. She would still need to work with Congress to ensure the USDoE has enough funding for her proposal. Assuming they agree, she would be able to direct the Secretary of Education to grant funds accordingly. For more details on Warren’s plan, you can check out Nilsen’s article.

So, as K12 teachers, how should we feel about this? First and foremost, it’s great that we have presidential candidates interested in education. If you like her politics, even better. If you don’t, that’s fine too. Here at The Uncommon School, we’re not in the business of telling you who or what to vote for. We just want to make sure you are informed. That being said, if you like articles like this, please let us know and we’ll be glad to continue bringing them to you. Until then, thanks for stopping by. We’ll see you soon.

Dr. Jacob Lauritzen is a high school and college English teacher in southeastern Arizona. He is also the founder of The Uncommon School and he runs the some-what popular YouTube channel, Read, Write, and Cite.