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How Education (or Lack Thereof) Predicts Whether Individuals Voted to Brexit, or Are Likely to Vote Trump

How Education (Or Lack Thereof) Predicts Whether Individuals Voted to Brexit, Or Are Likely to Vote Trump

Marc Tucker, president and chief executive officer of the National Center on Education and the Economy, recently wrote an eye-opening article for The Washington Post that discusses what education, income earnings, Brexit and Donald Trump all have in common.

After the United Kingdom shocked the world by voting to leave the European Union last week (cheekily summed up into one word: Brexit), parallels between the political climate in England and the one that exists here in the U.S. in the wake of the 2016 presidential election became readily apparent. 

In both America and England, many individuals are revolting against the opinion of the experts attempting to sway them away from voting to Brexit or in favor of the political anomaly that is Donald Trump.

“You can take your facts, and your analyses and your experts and shove it, because none of it has done any of us any good,” Tucker says of the general consensus.

When looking strictly at U.S. data, Tucker says that when comparing high income states with high-performing education systems to low income states with low-performing education systems, an important pattern emerges.

"Six of the states with the worst performing education systems are home to the lowest earners in the country. The states with the highest income earners and best education systems voted heavily Democrat in the last presidential election. The states with the lowest income earners and worst education systems voted heavily Republican in the last presidential election,” Tucker says.

These voters are neglected, Tucker argues, and angry after no effort has been made to give them the education and skills they need to compete in our increasingly competitive country. Instead, they are being left behind and are banding together to cast votes that could have grave consequences.

Brexit, Tucker says, should be America’s warning of what’s to come. "If I have got this anywhere near right, the presidential election in the United States may be won by the candidate who convinces the people who have been most hurt by globalization and automation that that candidate feels their pain and is prepared to do something about it,” Tucker says.

Based on his argument that the people who have been most hurt are the people disadvantaged by being taught in poor education systems, strong education policy could be of great significance though it rarely makes it onto the presidential debate stage.

To find out where the respective presidential candidates stand on education, see here.

To read Tucker’s article in full, see here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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