2016 | First Presidential Debate: Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump on Education | Part 1: One of Them is a Wonk

2016 Presidential Elections

September 20, 2016



By Charles Barone and Marianne Lombardo

Last night, Lester Holt, the moderator for the first Presidential debate on Monday, September 26 announced the topics he will cover with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump: “America’s Direction,” “Achieve Prosperity” and “Securing America.” They’re pretty nebulous so, who knows, maybe even education will come up. Here’s a rundown of the candidates’ positions to help guide you.

One of them is a wonk

Hillary Clinton’s campaign website has an education section listing specific policy proposals in seven areas including: early childhood education; K-12 education; making college debt-free and taking on student debt; and campus sexual assault.

Donald Trump’s campaign website has the same 52-second education video that’s been up since the primaries in which he rants about international comparisons and Common Core. Trump does have a relatively new section on childcare, but it doesn’t mention education.

Education should be the great door opener, and yet we know it often doesn’t turn out that way. I think every child in this country deserves a good teacher in a good school, regardless of the ZIP code you live in.”

— Hillary Clinton, campaign website

So, Common Core’s a total disaster. We’re going to end Common Core. We’re going to have education an absolute priority.”

            — Donald Trump, via campaign website video

Questions we’d love to see Lester Holt ask (but probably won’t):

To both candidates: According to the The Center for Public Integrity, “students found ‘responsible’ for sexual assaults on campus often face little or no punishment from school judicial systems, while their victims’ lives are frequently turned upside down.” What would you do to prevent campus violence and secure justice for victims?

To Donald Trump: Common Core was among the only education topics hotly debated during the Republican primaries and it’s the only education issue addressed on your website. You’ve said that you would “end Common Core.” Are you aware that last year Congress barred the federal government from dictating state standards under the Every Student Succeeds Act? Are you saying you would force states that have adopted Common Core to repeal them?