Education Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday offered a new vision of what a Clinton administration could look like and said she is “absolutely committed” to making it happen.
“I’m absolutely committed to doing everything in my power to make sure that we do this right,” she said during a news conference at the State Department.
She said her focus would be to make the system “work better, smarter, better, faster, fairer, and more accessible.”
She said she will focus on the needs of disadvantaged students, parents, teachers and communities.
“It’s the education system we’re in right now, and it’s the system that I believe in,” she told reporters at the White House.
The interview was her first since her election loss, in November, when she was asked if she would do anything to change the US educational system.
“You know, I don’t think we should be making any promises,” she replied.
She added that she wants to make a big deal about her administration’s achievements and said her administration will focus more on improving the education of young people.
“We’re going to focus on building upon the progress we made over the last eight years,” she added.
Clinton, who took over as the first female secretary of state in January, is expected to face pressure to make good on her campaign promise to “end discrimination in education.”
She also said she would push for more equitable funding for teachers.
“Education is not a black-and-white issue, but we are seeing that we’re not getting the resources that we need to get the results that we want,” she stressed.
“I want to build on what we’ve accomplished, and I want to continue to do what we’re doing right now,” she continued.
“There is nothing more important than getting kids ready to go to college.
And I think that’s really what we have to do.”
Clinton said she had talked with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos about the need to make higher education more accessible to students of color, and that she and other Democrats were in touch with the Education Department about making changes to the college-prep curriculum.
She also promised that the US Department of Education would provide “meaningful support” to charter schools.
Read more: ‘I want a new education for America’ “I know there are a lot of people who are not getting a fair shot, that we have a system that is rigged, and we need a fair shake,” she insisted.
“And I want a lot more fair shake.
And if we’re going back to the days of the bus drivers, we have got to have a bus driver’s union.”
“But I want that system that has worked,” she concluded.
In the interview, Clinton also offered a more general critique of Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a health care law enacted in 2010 that is known for its universal coverage provisions.
“The Affordable Care act is not perfect.
I want people to be able to get a great education,” she acknowledged.
“And it’s not perfect for people who work in healthcare.
We need to improve it.
But that is what we need,” she warned.
“But the Affordable care act is the law of the land and we’re just going to continue doing what we are doing right, and doing it better.”
Read more: Clinton, the Democratic nominee for president, said she wanted to work with Democrats to “move forward” on issues including climate change and the opioid epidemic.
“We need to do everything we can to get to zero opioid deaths,” she explained.
“That’s something that we will do, that is our priority.”
The former secretary of State is likely to be a major surrogate for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this summer.