While final tickets have yet to be punched, recent polls show the top four presidential candidates holding strong. With so much press and still a large candidate field, it can be tough to dig through their stances on all the major issues. Read on for a brief summary of each candidate’s position on education in the United States.
Hillary Clinton (D)
According to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign website, she has detailed information on her stance for education in K-12, early childhood, college, and even current higher ed hot topic – campus sexual assault. Out of the four candidates presented, her website provides the most comprehensive information and positions on education at all levels.
- Early Childhood Education: Clinton states early education is a “birthright” for American children. She looks to invest more in early childhood programs and make preschool more accessible.
- K-12 Education: Clinton’s K-12 plan is made up of goals to “make high-quality education a priority” for every American child. She also includes the desire to “support educators” and “improve student outcomes.”
- College: Clinton’s page on college opens with “costs won’t be a barrier, debt won’t hold you back.” In an August 10, 2015 speech, Clinton stated her desire to make education affordable to all who wish to work towards a degree. The site includes a quiz for users to determine if her plan fits their educational goals.
- Campus Sexual Assault Prevention: The site clearly states Clinton’s stance: campus sexual assault needs to end. Clinton outlines three main components to her plan to end this unfortunate trend on our campuses: providing comprehensive support to survivors, ensuring a fair judicial process for all, and increasing prevention efforts.
Bernie Sanders (D)
Bernie Sanders’ campaign site addresses education only at the collegiate level. He emphasizes not only making college affordable, but proposes free higher education and no debt for students. His stance is built around six main steps:
- Making tuition free for public institutions
- Stop federal government profits from student loans
- Cut student loan interest rates
- Permit loan refinancing at the lowest available rate
- Use need-based financial aid programs to make college free
- Impose a tax on Wall Street to make tuition free.
Donald Trump (R)
While Trump’s official campaign site does not include education as a major issue, he has been quoted speaking on the topic. In fact, Trump is the only of the four front-runners to not include college affordability and debt in his main platforms. Trump’s stances seem to be:
- Strong opponent of the Common Core
- Proposals to significantly cut the budget for Department of Education
- Focus on comprehensive rather than subject-based education
- Emphasize citizenship through education
- Allow students/parents to choose their school; it will improve public education
Dr. Ben Carson (R)
Dr. Carson’s website on education opens with stating “Education the fundamental principle of what makes America a success.” While his page on education is brief, it does provide a clear position. Carson states:
- Local control for primary and secondary education is a must
- Strong education can be the “ladder … out of poverty.”
- The Common Core must be “overturned”
- Involved parents, teachers, and principals are the key to good American education
Perhaps guided by their respective party, each candidate offers fairly diverse positions on education. Expect education to become a hot-button issue as campaigns continue towards the party nominations. Politics may not be your thing, but as an educator it is important to stay tuned in to the conversation. Check your candidate’s stance on education and other key issues here.