With the presidential election going into its final months, we have heard just about everything from the presidential nominees. Well, everything except for what should be done regarding the issue of education. Because there have been numerous hot-button problems that have captured the media’s attention, education has taken a backseat in the political agenda of the presidential nominees.
Although it is not at the forefront of issues that need to be resolved, that doesn’t make it any less important. Student debt has surpassed $1 trillion with the average college student raking in around $35,000 in debt according to time.com. The impact caused by this alarming amount of debt could have dire consequences for our economy. Another obstacle with education in the United States is the poor performance of students compared with the rest of the world; the U.S. ranks 17th in educational performance. If the United States plans to stay competitive with the rest of the developed world, these problems need to be addressed.
Hillary Clinton’s educational agenda aims to help alleviate college students’ debt by offering a three-month suspension of loan payments to borrowers of federal loans. Throughout this three-month period, the Department of Education will offer assistance to borrowers with consolidating their loans and reducing the amount of monthly loan payments. For future college students who come from a family that makes less than $85,000 a year, they will be able to attend an in-state public college or university without paying tuition, according to hillaryclinton.com. With an idea adopted by Bernie Sanders, Clinton plans to make all community colleges tuition free. This will be all paid for in full by limiting certain tax expenditures for high-income taxpayers.
In contrast with Clinton’s plan, Donald Trump calls for the federal government to take a hands-off approach to education. Believing that state governments should handle education policy locally, Trump would heavily cut funding to the Department of Education. Additionally, he wants to eliminate Common Core from schools. To improve educational performance, there should competition among different schools brought on by charter schools and vouchers.
The libertarian candidate Gary Johnson echoes Donald Trump’s plan of removing the federal government involvement in education policy. However, Johnson would push to abolish the Department of Education entirely. Vouchers and school choice is also supported in his policy. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, wants a tax-free bail out to everyone with student debt much like how the government bailed out the banks during the Great Recession.
“Make education more affordable.” Rachel Miller, social work
“The cost in general. Not just the tuition, but textbooks as well. When you pay $300 for a textbook, it’s pretty ridiculous.” Scott Wilhems, networking
“I don’t think college should be free. Nobody will take it seriously if it’s free. Paying for it makes you work for it.” Justin Harinarine, business management
“Cheaper tuition.” Ryan Bennett, associative science