It is that time again. The time when citizens of the United States must listen to the ideas of presidential candidates. This year, there will be six planned debates, scheduled by the Democratic Party. CNN was host to the first Democratic Debate, which took place on October 13, 2015 at The Wynn Las Vegas in Nevada. There were only five Democratic candidates, in comparison to the almost twenty Republican Candidates. Lincoln Chafee, Hilary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, and Jim Webb were the five candidates to debate many important issues. One topic, however, seemed to be overlooked. The topic of education.
The Failing Education System
Shockingly enough, CNN anchors did not ask a single question in regards to America’s public schools. Teachers and parents who were watching the debate wanted to learn about how each candidate would change and better struggling schools in America. Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders did touch on the subject when anchors asked them other questions, however, their comments lacked in any real content.
Clinton vs. Sanders
The two frontrunners, Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, were the only ones to bring up education at the K through 12 level. They made little mention of important issues, and kept their ideas focused on post- secondary education.
Hilary Clinton mentioned that the country needs good schools and universal pre- kindergarten. This is a wonderful start, but it was never expanded on. Most people would agree that we need better elementary, middle, and high schools. Many do not agree on what makes a good school and have their own ideas on how to better them.
Bernie Sanders stated that more funding is needed for schools in the United States. Again, a very nice point, but it was never mentioned in further detail. Where exactly is this funding coming from and what equity is being used? What are the downsides to gaining funding? These questions were never answered, leaving many viewers still wondering.
The first debate and post- secondary education
Of course this was only the first debate and there were several topics that needed to be covered. This is no excuse because the Republican candidates were able to discuss hot topics in primary and secondary education, including teachers unions.
Instead of looking at primary and secondary education, Democratic candidates chose to boast on how they plan to make changes when it comes to college education. Again, front runners Clinton and Sanders made the best claims as to how they plan to implement “free college”. Both made statements that they wish to make every public college and university in the country free, in which students would not need to borrow money for the cost of tuition. Their only financial responsibilities would be in the area of housing costs.
Hilary Clinton’s plan would cost over $35 billion dollars per year, spanning over a ten year period. New students would most likely choose a public university over a private one because of tuition costs. Bernie Sanders’ plan would could upwards of $70 billion annually, and would force the federal government to pay for two- thirds of the billion dollar plan. Although the candidates were able to discuss these changes, they made no effort to explain how they might help millions of college graduates with student loan debt, totaling trillions of dollars nationwide.
Comparison of education needs
Post- secondary education is extremely important because it gives young adults the opportunity for a bright future and a better career. Viewers responded well to the ideas on post- secondary education brought forth by the Democratic candidates. Even though it is an important topic to debate, primary and secondary education should be considered just as important. Children in the United States are having trouble competing with other countries. In order for children to have the opportunity to attend a college or university, they must first gain knowledge in their prime. With a failing school system, Common Core State Standards has come into play. These standards are controversial, and would be a great place for Democratic candidates to start, when discussing primary and secondary education at future debates.
Where to Catch Future Debates
Since the topic of education is important for so many viewers and future voters, there will be more debates. Several Democratic nominees actually wish there could be more debates because a total of six just does not seem like enough. Here is a list of all future Democratic debates.
CBS and KCCI will sponsor at Drake University in Iowa- November 14th
ABC AND WMUR will sponsor in Manchester, New Hampshire- December 19th
NBC and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute will sponsor in Charleston, South Carolina- January 17th
PBS will sponsor in a location in Wisconsin- February 11th
Univision and The Post will sponsor in Miami Florida- March 9th
With only one debate per month, it is going to be hard for the Democratic candidates to discuss primary and secondary education in further detail. Hopefully, candidates have become aware of viewers wishing to learn more about their plans for changing the school system. We are looking forward to future debates and will stay updated on the issue of the struggling school system.