Hillary Clinton Lays Out Multi-Point Tech, Innovation Plan

Associate Editor

Hillary Clinton, in a wide-ranging technology plan outlined at a Denver campaign stop today, proposed student loan deferment for startup founders, and connectivity to high-speed internet in every American household by 2020.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks while visiting Galvanize, a work space for technology companies, in Denver, Tuesday, June 28, 2016. While there Clinton said the House Benghazi committee found nothing different than previous investigations into Benghazi. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks while visiting Galvanize, a work space for technology companies, in Denver, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Speaking at a startup incubator in Denver, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee shared elements of her plan, including a proposal that would defer federal student loan payments for founders and early employees of startup companies for up to three years. And, where the business provides social benefits, she proposed that the startup stakeholders could apply for up to $17,500 of forgiveness for student loan debt after five years.

“We need more job creators and we need more young people starting businesses,” Clinton told a crowd of coders at Galvanize, the incubator, according to an Associated Press report. She also called for connecting every household to high-speed internet by 2020.

The student loan deferment/forgiveness plan and connectivity promises are part of Clinton’s Initiative on Technology and Innovation, which included the assertion that a “widely deployed digital infrastructure will allow for wrap-around learning for our students in the home and in our schools.”

Among the points that ed-tech companies might find interesting in Clinton’s 14-page plan are her promises to:

Support incubators, accelerators, mentoring and training for 50,000 entrepreneurs in underserved areas by investing new federal resources in the growth of small businesses in these areas—by extending and making permanent the New Markets Tax Credit, doubling Treasury’s investment in the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, doubling the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), and building public-private partnerships to invest in local innovation.

Invest in computer science and STEM education, with a pledge to provide “every student in America” an opportunity to learn computer science; as part of that she wants to double the federal investment in the $120 million Investing in Innovation (i3) program, including a 50 percent set-aside for computer science education. But my colleague Alyson Klein reported that it could be tough to add a computer science focus to i3, under some policy twists to the program under the new Every Student Succeeds Act.

Get the private sector and nonprofits to train up to 50,000 computer science teachers in the next decade; to accomplish this she would commit to federal financial aid, assistance to professional development programs, and support for public-private partnerships to improve computer science education certification pathways,

Offer U.S. Department of Education grants to develop innovative schools, specifically mentioning schools such as Denver’s School of Science and Technology and the Science Leadership Academy of Philadelphia, “which have produced impressive results and engaged under-represented populations in science and technology.” (See my colleague Ben Herold’s three-part multimedia coverage of this school’s triumphs and struggles here.) Grants could also be used to redesign high schools to focus more on STEM education; support local efforts to implement “maker spaces,” maker fairs, or robotics competitions in schools and after-school programs; or to help districts build partnerships with local universities and the private sector to improve STEM education, such as the partnership in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. (See Education Week‘s 2016 Diplomas Count coverage of high school redesign, and “Cleveland School Makes City Its Classroom” by Sarah Sparks.)

Grow American technology exports, in part by advancing Export Control Reform, pursuing policies to protect U.S. trade secrets and intellectual property, and resisting calls for forced technology transfer or localization of data. And she would oppose trade agreements, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, unless they spur job growth for Americans, rising incomes, and enhance national security.

Promote the free flow of information, by supporting the U.S.-EU Privacy Shield to find alignment in national data privacy laws and protect data movement across borders.

Promote open-licensing arrangements for copyrighted material and data supported by federal grant funding, including in education, with a goal of developing the technological infrastructure to support digitization, search, and repositories of such content, to facilitate its discoverability and use.

Bring an open-data approach to regulation, making it easier for businesses to submit structured data instead of documents, and bringing greater transparency to financial and other markets so that regulators, watchdog groups, and the American people can more easily identify fraud and illegal behavior.

Continue to defend net neutrality, which was most recently challenged unsuccessfully in a federal court; the court panel refused to strike down the Federal Communication Commission’s groundbreaking net neutrality rules issued last year. These rules are meant to prevent internet service providers from assigning content to fast and slow lanes.

What do you think of Clinton’s proposals? Feel free to comment below.

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