Where the Current 2016 Presidential Hopefuls Stand on Education

Where the Current 2016 Presidential Hopefuls Stand on Education

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The Democrats

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Some of the major issues with education Clinton would like to address with her potential presidency would be teacher pay, putting behavioral skill-training into the nation-wide curriculum, and investing in universal preschool.

Clinton wants to increase funding to special education, a promise she said the federal government made but hasn’t fulfilled since streamlining students with disabilities into regular classrooms. She wants an investment into education research to avoid jumping from “fad to fad” and she wants to see more energy and funding dedicated to improving the education of children from low-income families. Throughout her career, Clinton has been committed to helping early education through a variety of measures like home-visits. She has been credited with the expansion of a program that has been bringing home-visits to early learners for decades.

Major Education Endorsements

Clinton is poised to have the endorsement of the National Education Association, despite some dissent on whether to endorse her or Sanders.

“Last month, the NEA in New Hampshire also endorsed Clinton. But support for a Clinton endorsement within NEA’s rank and file isn’t widespread. Vermont’s NEA chapter endorsed Sanders in June. NEA chapters in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Nebraska urged the national council to wait before acting,” according to Politico.com.

Fixing the School-to-Prison Pipeline

In February, Clinton announced her intention to invest $2 billion in fixing the school-to-prison pipeline that affects minority communities. She said she intended to use the money to reform disciplinary practices in school districts throughout the country.

Supporting Longer School Days and Years

Clinton said that she is in support of longer school days and years to help disadvantaged students keep up with learning despite challenges.

Support of Charter Schools

Clinton has long-supported charter schools, although she was criticized for comments that charter schools do not enroll the hardest-to-teach kids and if they do, do not keep them. She immediately reiterated her support of charter schools following the comments.

On Guns in Schools

She has said repeatedly that she does not support guns in schools or the arming of teachers under any circumstances.

On the Common Core: She supports it, and has called the argument surrounding it “unfortunate” during a round-table discussion on education in Iowa earlier this year. Clinton, answering a question from a Common Core-supporter, said Iowa is generally in favor of the standards because it has adopted a solid structure for implementation.

“So Iowa has had a testing system based on a core curriculum for a really long time, and you see the value of it. You understand why that helps you organize your whole education system,” she said.

On the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):

According to Politico, “Hillary Clinton praised the bill, saying it wasn’t perfect, but it ‘retains a commitment to high academic standards, enables communities to strike a better balance on testing, requires districts and states to take action to turn around struggling schools, and allows states to take a holistic approach when measuring school success.'”

Bernie Sanders
Similarly to Clinton, Sanders hopes to address low teacher pay and early education in his presidency. He called the notion of beginning education when children reach four or five years old “archaic.”

On the subject of standardized testing, in 2001, Sanders voted against the final No Child Left Behind Act that has now become an infamous piece of legislation that educators and policymakers alike were desperate to replace. More recently, though, during the Senate’s re-write of the act, Sanders voted in favor of a measure called the Murphy amendment, which would have supported keeping some parts of the federal mandates behind NCLB, such as punishing schools considered to be failing based on test scores.

On the subject of charter schools, Sanders says he does not support public funding going to privately-owned schools because he feels as if it is the reason behind the de-funding of public school systems nationwide. He is also a proponent of school vouchers. In Sanders’ home-state of Vermont, there is no public funding of charter schools.

Sanders is passionate about decreasing the cost of higher education and resolving student debt.

On the Common Core: Sanders has remained relatively mum on how he feels about the Common Core, but in 2011 voted in favor of an act set to overhaul No Child Left Behind and give more flexibility to the state and local governments in regard to education as Senator in Vermont.

Curiously, however, in March of this year, he voted against an anti-Common Core amendment that would allow states to opt-out of educational standards without penalty, therefore making his stance unclear.

On the ESSA: Though Sanders supported overhauling NCLB, he sat out on casting a vote for ESSA.

The Republicans

Donald Trump

The billionaire, who would experience his first time in elected office if nominated president, would like to see the Department of Education cut down and he is a big supporter of local control of education. Trump’s stance on education has been considered a “wild card” because he has not made many of his views clear and seems mistaken about much of what he discusses.

Most recently, he incorrectly cited the U.S. as performing dead last on global assessments as well as having the highest per-pupil spending rates above any other country. Both of these statements were proven false.

He is against teacher unions, calling them “monopolies.”

Trump’s campaign officials said he would not support student pursuit of liberal arts education outside of prestigious universities.

On Guns in Schools: He said in January 2016 that he would get rid of gun-free zones the first day of his potential presidency and would support arming teachers that are trained, although he has since softened this stance.

On the Common Core: Trump is against the Common Core. He has publicly criticized former hopeful Jeb Bush’s support of the standards and during his campaign he released a video with his intentions to get rid of the Common Core if elected. He has not, however, given specifics as to how to replace it. It is unclear if Trump understands that Common Core is not a federal mandate.

On the ESSA: Unclear, though he most likely opposes, since, like Ted Cruz, he’s said he would completely eliminate the Department of Education if elected.