This piece was originally published by Next100, a startup think tank powered by The Century Foundation and created for—and by—the next generation of policy leaders.
At Next100, we work on policy and for people. We believe the big, structural challenges facing our communities need big, structural solutions that only government can provide. We also believe that a new presidential administration and Congress must put the individuals and communities most impacted by our current structural crises and systemic inequities at the center of their policy agenda. As immigrants, educators, students, the children of the formerly incarcerated, workers, policy wonks, and the next generation, these are our priorities for a new Congress and administration in 2021, with a particular focus on supporting the next generation.
To not just recover from the pandemic, but set our nation up for a more just future, we must invest in child care and early childhood education by adequately supporting educators and working parents. We must ensure that children whose parents are incarcerated receive the supports they need to thrive. All kids—not just those with incarcerated parents—must have the protective buffers necessary to prevent toxic stress. LGBTQ+ students must know the federal government has their back. We must support the charter school sector but also ensure that it is equitable, accountable, and responsive to the communities it serves. We must leverage our national service programs—and the skills and commitment to service of the diverse next generation—to speed our recovery from the pandemic and build an improved public sector. We must allow and encourage international students to stay here after they graduate. And finally, we must close the digital divide for workers, and especially workers of color, that locks them out of power and opportunity.
These ideas are not pipe dreams—they are attainable—but they depend on bold action from the president and Congress. Click here to read full report.