If Clinton And Trump Debated K-12, What Would It Sound Like?

Oct 18, 2016

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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have found plenty to talk about in two testy, nationally televised debates.

But K-12 hasn’t made its way through the noise.

And there’s no guarantee Wednesday night’s third and final debate will be any different.

So, if the two major party candidates were forced to debate K-12 topics, what would it sound like? To get a sense of how a K-12 debate might play out, Idaho Education News gleaned comments from the candidates’ websites and media interviews.

Question: What letter grade would you give the nation’s schools?

Donald Trump, Republican: Based on Trump’s website, you could expect him to grade the K-12 system harshly. His website is long with talking points that suggest Americans aren’t getting their money’s worth for their $620 billion investment in K-12. Twenty-seven nations outperformed the U.S. on the math section of the Program for International Student Assessment exam, and U.S. students ranked No. 18 on the reading portion of PISA.

A Trump talking point, from his website: “We spend more per student than almost any other major country in the world. Yet, our students perform near the bottom of the pack for major large advanced countries.”

Hillary Clinton, Democrat: Here, you might expect Clinton to talk about bridging achievement gaps in public schools — and her work to address equity issues. She might even bring up a topic that might make some  education stakeholders’ eyes twitch: the unpopular No Child Left Behind education law. On Clinton’s campaign website, she says she worked in the U.S. Senate to help shape No Child Left Behind, “with the hope that it would bring needed resources and real accountability to improve educational opportunities for our most disadvantaged students.”

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