Do you know who you’ll be voting for this fall? As the 2016 presidential election race continues to heat up and is filled with lively debates, witty one-liners, and other memorable moments we are excited to see outcome of this race. In the meantime, in an effort to keep you informed and engaged, we will be presenting the candidates’ stances on various topics.
The topic to be discussed is one that is on the minds of many of our readers, and is no doubt a huge concern. Our first piece will focus on various issues pertaining to education reform and where each candidate stands.
During her time as First Lady of Arkansas in the 1980s, Clinton pushed for preschool expansion. Also in her 2008 bid for the presidency she campaigned for universal pre-kindergarten. During her campaign she also advocated for higher teacher salaries. Additionally, she has been a longtime supporter of charter schools. Fast forward to her present campaign, Clinton has repeatedly said that the cost of high education is too high. In an effort to curb the cost Clinton is in favor of tax breaks for large oil and pharmaceutical companies be reduced and the revenue used to fund student aid.
Senator Sanders, by the most liberal of all the candidates, has a progressive education plan, which he presented at the University of Iowa in February. Sanders called for the federal government to spend $18 billion per year on state grants, which would allow all public colleges and universities to cut tuition by 55%. Interestingly, Sanders did not say how he planned to fund the plan. Sanders is also a staunch opponent of school choice; which means he is not in favor of programs offering students and their families alternatives to publicly provided schools, which students are generally assigned by the location of family residence. Vermont is one a small number of states without a charter school. Additionally, he voted against federally funded vouchers for low-income students in Washington, D.C.
Rubio’s idea about education revolve around making the educational system more efficient. Rubio, who has taught political science courses at Florida International University in Miami, has several of what some would consider conservative ideas for school reform. In 2014, he proposed changes to the higher education system, which would include free online courses and allowing students to participate in investment plans so they could attend college without taking out loans. Most recently in an op-ed piece written for The Des Moines Register on September 13, 2015, Rubio described his education plan as one that would work to welcome low-cost, innovative higher education providers, requiring schools to inform students how much they are expected to earn with a given degree prior to offering loans, increasing financial aid programs for working students, developing alternatives to student loans and correlating loan repayment with each graduate’s income1.
Cruz believes educational decisions are best made at the local level, instead of the federal level; and thus is for repealing Common Core State Standards. Cruz believes school choice is very important and even considers it the “civil right issues of the 21st century,” saying that each child in American deserves a fair chance at a quality education2. Cruz also expressed an interest in expanding charter schools and voucher programs. In launch told students at Liberty University that because parents’ bankruptcy he had no financial support when he went off to Princeton. During is educational career he accumulated over $100,000 in debt, which is only paid off a few years ago. Although, Cruz personally understands of the crippling burden of student loan, he has not formally announced what his platform will be regarding higher education and student aid.
Kasich has not taken a formal stance on higher education issues. Earlier this year, as governor of Ohio, Kasich threatened to “take an ax” to state higher education funding if colleges and universities failed to cut their costs. For his state budget proposal, Kasich proposed creating $120 million debt fund for students who graduate from an Ohio public college or university and take an in-demand job after graduating. Also, in 2016 Kasich increased funding for higher education in Ohio by 2%, and simultaneously put a 2% cap on how much universities can raise their tuition costs. Despite making strides at the state level, recently when asked about his views regarding the national student debt problem, he said he did not know and would have to look into it. It is yet to be seen what position Kasich will take on this issue as the raise continues.
In 2005 Trump founded an online school called Trump University with the purpose of teaching people the art of making deals. However, after a series of complaints from the New York Department of Education because the school did not offer degrees, the name was changed to Trump Entrepreneur Initiative in 2010. Trump, who has admittedly “never all that interested in schoolwork” has seemingly straightforward and simple views on education3. He is completely against Common Core and believes education has to be local. In regards to education spending Trump put it simply: “People are tired… of spending more money on education than any nation in the world per capital.”3 With an increase in the number of supporters and the possibility of becoming of the Republican party nominee, it will be interesting to see how long he can go on without developing a formalized stance on a topic of such great importance to so many people.
- The Des Moines Register, “Rubio: Let’s overhaul higher education,” September 13, 2015
- The Hill, “Rubio and Cruz circle education reform,” January 28, 2014
- Forbes, “Donald Trump On Education: 5 Things The Presidential Candidate Wants You to Know, June 16, 2015.
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