Well, folks, we’re 288 days into the worst election year of all time but we’ve finally got some answers on education that will knock anything else going on out of the news cycle. Valerie Strauss, education blogger at
The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet, sent 22 questions for Clinton and Trump to answer and received some interesting content. While some of the questions were leading (“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?”), and some of the answers are vague (see Clinton’s answer on educator evaluations), for the most part, I was excited to see some actual information to dig into, rather than simple soundbites. That is, from one of the candidates at least. Some highlights on some of the biggest issues facing K-12 education policy today:
Clinton on state-based accountability:
I’m optimistic that the Every Students Succeeds Act strikes the right balance by allowing states to develop more holistic school accountability systems that look at factors beyond just test scores.
Clinton on testing:
So I’m focused on helping states and school districts find the right balance on testing. Let’s move toward better, fairer, and fewer tests so that parents don’t feel the need for their children to opt-out.
Clinton on the ability of POTUS to “get rid” Common Core:
Now, my opponent likes to say he will “get rid” of the Common Core on day one of his presidency. There’s only one problem with that: he can’t. The Common Core was a state-led effort, and states are completely free to adopt or eliminate the standards. In fact, the federal government is actually prohibited from telling a state which standards it can or can’t adopt. If you want to improve education in America, you need to actually understand how it works.
At this point, you may be wondering why I, unbiased blogger at a nonprofit that I am, haven’t quoted any of Trump’s highly detailed answers to these 22 policy-driven questions. Here they are, in full:
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.
Valentina Payne joined Bellwether Education Partners in 2021 as chief of staff to Andy Rotherham on the External Relations team. Prior to Bellwether, she spent seven years at brightbeam, where she most recently served as its chief growth officer, overseeing operations, finance, fundraising, and strategic growth of the organization.