The Democratic Party is dedicated to reforming the educational system in the United States. Democratic views on education include tax benefits and reformed financial aid programs for college tuition, saving and creating more teaching jobs, expand education options for low-income youth, and revamping standardized testing to test more complex skills.
Democrats on Public Schools
Democrats hope to turn around the public school system and make it more successful and sustainable. They hope to expand public school options for low-income children by creating and maintaining more magnet schools, charter schools, teacher-led schools, and career academies. They also hope to increase the number of teachers and the respect that teachers receive, to improve the quality of instruction that kids are receiving. In their 2012 platform, Democrats stated, “Because there is no substitute for a great teacher at the head of a classroom, the President helped school districts save more than 400,000 educator jobs. We Democrats honor our nation’s teachers. If we want high-quality education for all our kids, we must listen to the people who are on the front lines. The President has laid out a plan to prevent more teacher layoffs while attracting and rewarding great teachers. This includes raising standards for the programs that prepare our teachers, recognizing and rewarding good teaching, and retaining good teachers. We also believe in carefully crafted evaluation systems that give struggling teachers a chance to succeed and protect due process.”
Democrats on School Choice
The Democratic Party supports public school choice, including charter schools and magnet schools that meet the same high standards as other schools. They believe that the alternative of pushing private school vouchers takes dollars away from public schools, making school choice the far better option. They hope to build new schools and provide them with the technology and equipment for a modern education to fulfill this goal.
Democrats on Higher Education
The Democratic Party hopes to see college within the reach of every student. They took on banks to reform the student loan program and cut out the middleman in student lending, allowing them to “better and more directly invest in students.” They also doubled the investment in Pell Grant scholarships and created the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Democrats believe that these financial moves will make college more accessible to children from lower-income families. They also hope to create programs that will allow students to manage their federal student loans so that their payment is as low ass 10 percent of their monthly income. The 2012 Democratic Platform stated, “We Democrats also recognize the economic opportunities created by our nation’s community colleges. That is why the President has invested in community colleges and called for additional partnerships between businesses and community colleges to train two million workers with the skills they need for good jobs waiting to be filled.” Furthermore, the Democratic Party would like to see federal loan interest rates reduced greatly.
Democrats on Standardized Testing
Democrats hope to use standardized testing to advance education, but in a different way than they’re being used now. They believe the current form of standardized testing advances bureaucracy more than it advances education, and hope to “use testing to advance real learning, not undermine it, by developing high-quality assessments that measure the complex skills students need to develop. We will make sure that federal law operates with high standards and common sense, not just bureaucratic rigidity.”
Democrats vs. Republicans on Education
One educational program that caused a great deal of controversy between parties is President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act. In the 2004 Democratic Party platform the Democrats spoke out against the Bush administration, saying, “For this White House, education is an easy promise – easy come, and easy go. When President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, he said the right things – asking more from our schools and pledging to give them the resources to get the job done. And then he promptly broke his word, providing schools $27 billion less than he had promised, literally leaving millions of children behind. The President also gets a failing grade for higher education. Over the last three years, college tuitions have risen by 35 percent, pricing 220,000 students out of college. Yet while then- Governor Bush promised to increase college aid, President Bush tried to charge more for student loans and eliminate Pell Grants for 84,000 students.”
In terms of education as a whole, the parties are also greatly critical of each other’s educational ideals. Republicans support vouchers for private schools while the Democrats see them as wasteful. Republicans believe that the resources provided could create a successful educational system if the proper systems of accountability are put in place, while Democrats believe that the resources being provided need to be increased.
Hillary Clinton on Education
Hillary Clinton believes in educational reform. She believes that parents are a child’s first teachers, and that “we’ve got to do more to give families the tools and the support that they should have so that they can be the best parents.” She is a proponent of school-based merit pay. She sees this as a way to get more teachers into hard-to-serve areas. She states, “The school is a team, and it’s important that we reward that collaboration. A child who moves from kindergarten to sixth grade in the same school, every one of those teachers is going to affect that child. You need to weed out the teachers not doing a good job. That’s the bottom line. They should not be teaching our children.”
Barack Obama on Education
President Obama believes strongly in educational reform. He has stated, “If we want America to lead in the 21st century, nothing is more important than giving everyone the best education possible — from the day they start preschool to the day they start their career.” He has expanded support to help more students be able to afford college. He has also called for a shared responsibility in tackling rising costs. He hopes to see every American student given a good chance at graduating high school, college, and being properly prepared for a career. He believes that because a college degree seems to be a prerequisite for 21st century jobs, it should be something everyone can afford. He also believes in creating systems to support and reward excellent teachers.
- Democratic Party on Education – On The Issues
- Hillary Clinton on Education – On The Issues
- Education – The White House
- Republican Views on Education
- Libertarian Views on Education
- Republican Views on School Vouchers
- Common Core Explained
- Democratic Party Beliefs
- Democratic Views on College Tuition
- Differences Between Democrats and Republicans
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- What You Need to Know About New York’s Free Tuition Law
- Democratic Views on Poverty