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Clinton Answers Post’s Education Questions, Trump Dodges

Clinton Answers Post’s Education Questions, Trump Dodges

Looking to get more answers about where the presidential candidates stand on education issues after the topic was absent from both presidential debates, The Washington Post reached out to both Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton with a series of questions.

Some of the questions are as follows:

Q: Local school districts in the United States are funded primarily by property taxes, meaning that every district spends a different amount per student and wealthier districts have more to spend. Is this system fair? If not, how would you change it to ensure that funding equity?

Q: Do you think that schools alone can systemically overcome the effects that living in poverty has on children’s education?

Q: Do you think that all students should take the same standardized test every year so that score comparisons can be made to see how states are educating their children?

Q: Should students be allowed to opt out of state-mandated standardized tests?

Q: Today students as young as 4 and 5 are being asked to sit for hours in class doing academic work with little or no recess. This is part of a “pushdown” of curriculum in which children are being asked to read and write, analyze and perform math problems at younger ages than in the past. Do you support this trend?

Q: Do you support universal prekindergarten?

Q: Should teachers be evaluated by the test scores of students?

Q: What is the best way of measuring the success of schools and what should happen when schools are not measuring up?

Q: The Common Core State Standards is not a federal program, but the Obama administration and a bipartisan group of governors have backed its development and implementation in numerous states. Do you support the Common Core initiative? Please explain why or why not. What should the federal role be in relation to Common Core?

Q: Currently charter schools, which are funded by the public, are not required to be as transparent about their finances and other operations as traditional public schools. Should they be?

Q: Should for-profit companies be allowed to open and operate publicly funded charter schools?

Q: Study after study has found that black students as young as preschoolers are suspended and expelled at disproportionately high rates. How would you address this?

Q: Do you believe that public funds should be used for students to pay for private school tuition? If not, why not? If so, should the private schools be held accountable in any way for student achievement?

Questions also covered higher education topics and asked a series of personal questions, like who is your favorite teacher and why.

Clinton chose to answer all of the above questions, providing crucial insight into her education views and subsequent plans if elected, while Trump responded only via his candidate’s deputy communications director Jessica Ditto with a short paragraph and an explanation of his preference to refer voters to his website.

His response is as follows:

“As your president, I will be the nation’s biggest cheerleader for school choice. I want every single inner city child in America who is today trapped in a failing school to have the freedom – the civil right – to attend the school of their choice. I understand many stale old politicians will resist. But it’s time for our country to start thinking big once again. We spend too much time quibbling over the smallest words, when we should spend our time dreaming about the great adventures that lie ahead.”

Take-aways from Clinton’s extensive responses include:

  • A support of reducing testing through the Every Student Succeeds Act and a commitment to ensuring students are exposed to fewer, fairer standardized tests
  • A commitment to a goal of providing every 4-year-old with high-quality preschool access within the next decade
  • An optimism about the Every Student Succeeds Act's requirement that schools be held accountable for all learner groups
  • A support for high standards but a recognition of better implementation than what happened under Common Core
  • A detailed view of the Department of Education’s role in education: “. . . the federal government has an important role to play in protecting students who have historically been disadvantaged, and closing gaps in opportunity that still exist in our education system today.”
  • An opposition to all for-profit charter schools: "At the federal level, for-profit charter schools are already prohibited from receiving funding through programs like the Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools Program – a step I fully support."
  • An intention to develop “School Climate Support Teams” to reduce disproportionate disciplinary practices in schools

Read the full list of responses from The Washington Post here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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