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The Bottom Line Election Implications for Education

This year’s Presidential race has dominated television, internet, radio, and social media to an unprecedented level. In our highly connected world, politics are coming at us from all sides. Although other issues, such as the economy, coronavirus, law and order (or the lack thereof), healthcare, and a host of climate-related topics have taken center stage, the election also has significant implications for education.

Contrasting Party Platforms

The parties have outlined their positions on various topics, including education in their respective documents: 2020 Democratic Party Platform and Republican Platform 2016 (adopted for 2020 as positions have remained consistent). The Gospel Coalition has provided a concise and unbiased summary of each party’s platform by topic to assist voters. The education sections of these respective summaries are as follows:

Democratic Party Education Platform

Supports universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds and expansion of Head Start and Early Head Start.

Supports K-12 instruction in civics and climate literacy.

Supports tripling Title I funding.

Supports banning for-profit private charter businesses from receiving federal funding.

Supports measures to increase accountability for charter schools, including by requiring all charter schools to meet the same standards of transparency as traditional public schools, including with regard to civil rights protections, racial equity, admissions practices, disciplinary procedures, and school finances.

Opposes private school vouchers and allowing public-funded scholarships to be used at private schools.

Supports “protect[ing] the rights of transgender students.”

Supports appointing judges who will enforce the Civil Rights Act in schools.

Supports making community colleges and trade schools tuition-free for all students, including DACA recipients.

Supports increasing federal support for services like child care on college campuses.

Supports increased funding for wraparound services, including covering the cost of textbooks and fees for low-income students and establishing programs to address campus food insecurity.

Supports forgiving all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt for those earning less than $125,000 who graduated from two- and four-year public colleges and universities, and we will also apply this benefit to individuals holding federal student loans for tuition from private HBCUs and MSIs.

Supports increased public investment in rural, urban, and Tribal broadband infrastructure, and subsidies to offer low-income Americans subsidies for accessing high-speed internet, and invest in digital literacy training programs, so “children and families and people with disabilities can fully participate in school, work, and life from their homes.”

Republican Party Education Platform

Supports a constitutional amendment to protect parental rights “from interference by states, the federal government, or international bodies such as the United Nations.”

Supports school choice for all students. Proposes that the bulk of federal money through Title I for low-income children and “through IDEA for children with special needs should follow the child to whatever school the family thinks will work best for them.”

Opposes the imposition of national educational standards and assessments.

Supports state legislatures offering the Bible in a literature curriculum as an elective in America’s high schools.

Supports background checks for all personnel who interact with school children.

Supports options for learning, including home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, and early college high schools.

Supports replacing “family planning” programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior.

Opposes school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception and believes that “federal funds should not be used in mandatory or universal mental health, psychiatric, or socio-emotional screening programs.”

Supports states that oppose including gender identity and sexual orientation under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Supports the prompt investigation by civil authorities and prosecution in a courtroom of sexual assault claims, rather than having them adjudicated in the “faculty lounge” of colleges. Those convicted of sexual assault should be punished to the full extent of the law.

Like other issues on the ballot, there is a stark difference between the education philosophy of the two parties. It boils down to this:  big government versus small government; federal control versus state control; and providing exclusive funding for traditional public schools versus school choice for parents.

Research, know the facts, and exercise your right to vote. If you haven’t taken advantage of early voting, get out and vote today or tomorrow. Our nation’s future, including the direction of education for our children and teens, will be shaped by how the American people vote. Much is at stake this election including considerable implications for education.

Keri D. Ingraham

Senior Fellow and Director, American Center for Transforming Education
Dr. Keri D. Ingraham is a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute and Director of the Institute’s American Center for Transforming Education. She is also a Senior Fellow at Independent Women’s Forum. Dr. Ingraham has been a guest on Fox News multiple times. Her articles have been published by The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, The Federalist, Real Clear Education, The Washington Times, The Epoch Times, Washington Examiner, National Review, The American Spectator, Daily Caller, The Seattle Times, Puget Sound Business Journal, The Daily Signal, and a host of other media outlets. Fox News has featured her work. Prior to joining Discovery Institute, she spent nearly two decades leading within the field of education as a national consultant, requested conference speaker, head of school, virtual and hybrid academy director, administrator, classroom teacher, and athletic coach. She authored multiple chapters for the book, Sketching a New Conservative Education Agenda, published in 2022. In 2019, she was invited as a contributing author for the book, MindShift: Catalyzing Change in Christian Education and co-authored “From Gutenberg to 5G.” Dr. Ingraham was awarded the George W. Selig Doctoral Fellowship in 2013. The following year she received the “World Changer in the Field of Education” award from Regent University.
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