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Will Education Have a Place on Tonight's Debate Stage?

Will Education Have a Place During Tonight’s Highly Anticipated Presidential Debate?

With just a little over a month before Americans will hit the polls and decide the country’s next president, respective Democratic and Republican candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are finally set to square off this evening for their first and highly-anticipated debate.

While it’s without question that topics like immigration, national security and the economy will be discussed, will education have a place on the stage?

It’s highly probable, as Donald Trump recently referred to an education issue as “the civic-rights issue of our time.” Trump has fully aligned himself with school choice after providing rare insight into his education policy plans; prior to this, he was referred to by education experts as a “wild card” who had formerly only discussed disdain for both the Common Core and the Department of Education without much elaboration.

Given his recent vocalization and confidence in his education plans, he’s likely to discuss them further on the stage. Trump has said he will propose a $20 billion block grant for the nation’s states to support charter schools and vouchers, a proposal that has so far won him a lot of support from otherwise skeptical observers.

But for every time Trump has mentioned education, Clinton has surely mentioned it twice more.

Since starting her campaign, Clinton has discussed plans to invest $2 billion into fixing the school-to-prison pipeline, implement longer school days and years to improve academic achievement of underprivileged children, commit to investments in STEM and computer science, increase home-visits and see through universal pre-K.

Clinton will likely touch on at least some of these proposals—as well as argue against Trump’s. Clinton has called Trump’s school choice plan an assault on public schools, and the union-friendly candidate has on multiple occasions made critical comments about charter schools since her last presidential run. 

Further, Trump and Clinton also disagree on the place of guns in schools, a topic that very well might get discussed given the intensity of the subject. While Trump has said he supports guns in schools and would abolish schools as gun-free zones on his very first day in office, Clinton has argued that proper training of staff versus providing weapons is the way to increase school safety.

To find out where the presidential candidates stand on education issues ahead of tonight’s debate, check out our resource here.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

9/26/2016

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