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September 23, 2016

Where do the presidential candidates stand on education?

Essential question

Why do you think education is often considered a second-tier issue in presidential elections?

As Election Day approached, the candidates running for president have made and effort to appeal to parents, teachers and students by showing them where they stand on education.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump largely fall on different sides of issues like topics like Common Core, school vouchers and student debt.

Trump has vowed to terminate Common Core and leave education standards to the state and local level. He also proposed a plan to give a $12,000 voucher to every child living in poverty at a total cost of about $130 billion.

“That means parents will be able to send their kids to the desired public, private, or even religious school of their choice,” said Trump.

Clinton, on the other hand, supports universal preschool and Common Core and strongly opposes school vouchers. Taking inspiration from former opponent Bernie Sanders, Clinton has made the high cost of higher education a key component of her education platform. Her plan would make in-state tuition free for low-income families and offer debt relief to those with student loans.

“If you already have debt, we will help you refinance it and pay it back as a percentage of your income, so you’re never on the hook for more than you can afford,” Clinton said.

Key terms

Common Core — a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English which outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade

school voucher — government funding for a student at a school chosen by the student or his/her parents. The funding is usually for a particular year, term or semester.

Warm up questions (before watching the video)
  1. Do you think it’s important for presidential candidates to discuss education as a campaign issue?
  2. What does the term “school choice” mean?
  3. Do you think pre-K should be free for every child in the U.S.?
Critical thinking questions (after watching the video)
  1. Why do you think Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump differ greatly on the issue of education?
  2. How might a system of school vouchers affect funding for public schools?
  3. Do you support Clinton’s plan for tuition-free public colleges? Why or why not?
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