The Presidential Candidates’ Education Platforms

Candidate Clinton’s Education Platform

Hillary Clinton has been working to improve and support our public schools for decades:

  • As a young law student working for Marian Wright Edelman, Hillary went undercover to investigate “segregation academies” in Alabama.
  • As first lady of Arkansas, she chaired the Arkansas Educational Standards Commission, fighting to raise academic standards, increase teacher salaries, and reduce class sizes.
  • As first lady of the United States, she chaired the first-ever convening on Hispanic children and youth, which focused on improving access to educational opportunities.
  • As a U.S. senator, she served on the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee, as a key member shaping the No Child Left Behind Act, with the hope that it would bring needed resources and real accountability to improve educational opportunities for our most disadvantaged students.

As President, she will:

  • Launch a national campaign to modernize and elevate the profession of teaching. America is asking more of our educators than ever before. They are preparing our kids for a competitive economy, staying on top of new pedagogies, and filling gaps that we as a country have neglected – like giving low-income kids, English-language learners, and kids with disabilities the support they need to thrive. We ask so much of our educators, but we aren’t setting them up for success. That’s why Hillary will launch a national campaign to elevate and modernize the teaching profession, by preparing, supporting and paying every child’s teacher as if the future of our country is in their hands – because it is.
  • Provide every student in America an opportunity to learn computer science. There are more than half a million open jobs that require computing skills, across the country and in every major industry. But the majority of schools in the United States don’t offer computer science. Hillary will provide states and school districts funding to help scale computer science instruction and lesson programs that improve student achievement or increase college enrollment and completion in CS Ed fields.
  • Rebuild America’s schools. In cities and rural communities across America, there are public schools that are falling apart, schools where students are learning in classrooms with rodents and mold. That’s unacceptable, and it has to change. That’s why Hillary will build on the highly successful Build America Bonds program to provide cities and towns the capital they need to rebuild their schools. These “Modernize Every School Bonds” will double the Build America Bonds subsidy for efforts to fix and modernize America’s classrooms, from increasing energy efficiency and tackling asbestos to upgrading science labs and high-speed broadband.
  • Dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline. Schools should be safe places for students to learn and grow. But in too many communities, student discipline is overly harsh, and these harsh measures disproportionately affect African American students and those with the greatest economic, social, and academic needs. Hillary will work to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by providing $2 billion in support to schools to reform overly punitive disciplinary policies, calling on states to reform school disturbance laws, and encouraging states to use federal education funding to implement social and emotional support interventions.



Candidate Trump’s Education Platform

  • On Sept. 8, 2016, Donald Trump delivered a speech on education policy in Ohio. He said, “As your president I will be the nation’s biggest cheerleader for school choice. I understand many stale old politicians will resist, but it’s time for our country to start thinking big and correct once again.” He proposed allocating $20 billion toward school choice policies. Trump also commented on the issue of merit pay for teachers, saying, “I will also support merit pay for teachers so that we reward our best teachers instead of the failed tenure system that rewards bad teachers and punishes the good ones.”
  • Trump gave a speech at the American Legion national convention in Ohio on Sept. 1, 2016, where he discussed his goal of promoting patriotism in U.S. schools. Trump said, “Together, we are going to work on so many shared goals. But I want to begin by discussing one goal that I know is so important to all of you: promoting American pride and patriotism in America’s schools. In a Trump Administration, I plan to work directly with the American Legion to uphold our common values and to help ensure they are taught to America’s children. We want our kids to learn the incredible achievements of America’s history, its institutions, and its heroes. We will stop apologizing for America, and we will start celebrating America. We will be united by our common culture, values and principles – becoming One American Nation. One country, under one Constitution, saluting one American Flag. The flag all of you helped to protect and preserve. That flag deserves respect, and I will work with American Legion to help to strengthen respect for our flag – and, by the way, we want young Americans to recite the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’.”
  • In an interview on Jan. 11, 2016, with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said he would do “tremendous cutting” of the federal government. Education policy, he said, should be returned to the states, and he said he would end the Common Core education standards, which conservatives view as federal overreach. “Education should be local and locally managed,” said Trump.

Asked about the Common Core during a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt in February 2015, Trump said, “I think that education should be local, absolutely. I think that for people in Washington to be setting curriculum and to be setting all sorts of standards for people living in Iowa and other places is ridiculous.”

  • Trump said, in a speech at the South Carolina Tea Party Convention in January 2015, that the Department of Education could be “cut…way, way, way down.”
  • In his 2000 book, The America We Deserve, Trump advocated for school choice, charter schools and vouchers. He argued that together they create a competitive system that improves education and offers an alternative to a public education model which “would set off every antitrust alarm bell at the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission” if it were a traditional business



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