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Where Does Donald Trump’s VP Pick Mike Pence Stand on Education?

 


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While it’s difficult to tell where Donald Trump stands on education because his words are ever-changing and he has no congressional experience to use as reference, his vice presidential pick Mike Pence is a different story.

Currently the governor of Indiana since 2013, Pence has over a decade of experience in Congress, a sharp contrast to Trump’s zero years of experience.

For that reason, Pence votes on many education-related legislation provide a solid foundation for judging where the potential VP stands.

 

He voted against No Child Left Behind.

In 2001, Pence voted against No Child Left Behind, thereby also voting against the mandatory testing of the country’s students to ensure equal progress. Pence’s vote was just one of 25 Republican votes against the legislation, and at the time he cited a fear of federal intrusion into local education. From this vote, we can presume that Pence does not support a beefy Department of Education, if he supports one at all.

While Pence has since gotten behind testing as governor, he still has remained a champion for shorter, more effective ways of testing students.

In the earlier part of the decade, Indiana had a particularly difficult time transitioning to the Common Core Standards before it decided, under Pence’s authority, to scrap the standards and develop their own. While the new state standards had striking similarities to the standards of the Common Core, Pence declared it his priority to make a state test that is short and effective; the state is still in the process of doing so after several challenges to the process.

 

He has fought to provide preschool access to disadvantaged students.

Pence was always a supporter of the belief that providing access to quality preschool programs should be a priority, but in 2014 he became a champion for legislation that "eventually [would] pay preschool tuition for about 1,500 poor children. It [included] a study of whether the programs help students academically and parent satisfaction,” says the Chalkbeat Indiana.

Pence saw the bill through to passing despite it being a difficult road; it took many rounds of negotiations for Pence to receive the support he needed.

 

He is a CTE and school choice advocate.

Pence is both an advocate of strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) and school choice.

According to the Chalkbeat, in "the first legislative session after he was elected, Pence successfully pushed through two bills creating regional works councils and a state career council” as he sought to ensure success for students who opt out of pursuing college.

The Chalkbeat says that over 2,000 more students participated in CTE programs that year, with almost all going on to either get further training or get jobs.

Pence is also an advocate of school choice and vouchers as well as a proponent of publicly-funded charter schools.

 

The NEA gave him a 17% approval rating in 2003.

Though Pence has had a relatively uncontroversial relationship with education as governor, it seems like he was viewed less favorably while in Congress.

In 2003, the National Education Association gave Pence a 17 percent approval rating based on how he voted on public education issues.

To be fair, NEA also only gave Lamar Alexander, current chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions, a 27 percent approval rating. Alexander is considered to be one of the main architects behind the Every Student Succeeds Act, the new education legislation that has been championed for being bipartisan. 

 

He understands the importance in making the teaching career more attractive.

Thanks to his experience as governor, he received first-hand experience in learning the importance of making the teaching profession career attractive to retain teachers and recruit new prospects.

In 2016, he said:

"This year let's find ways to make teaching more attractive and do our part to encourage more Hoosiers to pursue careers in education. That is why I am so enthusiastic about Speaker Bosma's Next Generation Scholarship that would cover up to $7,500 per year in tuition for students who are in the top 20 percent of their class and commit to teaching in Indiana for at least five years.”

Anything else you would like to know about Mike Pence and education? Let us know.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

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