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Elizabeth Hartline Green

Where do the candidates stand on education? Hillary Clinton on education.

This is the tenth and final installment in a series on where the candidates stand on education.

Today’s pick is Senator Hillary Clinton. But, before I begin, a note about the candidates I did not highlight. Those I left out I didn’t select because, essentially, I either don’t think they have a good shot at gaining the nomination or they still haven’t officially declared. Some of the ones I did pick are also unlikely to win, but either have garnered a lot of media attention or have interesting policy stances.


Sen. Clinton is, at this point in the race, has garnered the support of both the American Federation of Teachers and possible the NEA, the two largest teachers’ unions. As either a cause or a result of this, most of her policy reflects that which is favored by the teachers’ unions.

Sen. Clinton is opposed to vouchers, but supports limited charter schools that must follow state guidelines. She seems to have been in the past a more enthusiastic supporter of charter schools than she is today, but has never been of the stance that charters should replace all public schools, or that the answer to the problems in public education is increased competition amongst schools.

Sen. Clinton’s biggest talking point on education right now is a push to create voluntary universal preschool. She wants to do so in a state-federal partnership, where states independently devise universal preschool programs and the federal government provides matched money to fund them. These programs would be required to be free for low-income children and children from limited English homes. Sen. Clinton does not mention at all whether other children would be required to pay for the preschool services, although I’m assuming they would be.

Sen. Clinton is also in favor of reforming No Child Left Behind, though in what ways has not been fleshed out as of yet. It seems likely that she is mostly in favor of increasing funding for No Child Left Behind, but probably not fundamentally altering the structure of the Act.

Sen. Clinton supported class-size reduction efforts led by her husband, and is still in favor of raising teacher salaries in order to attract more people to the profession. She is not in favor of merit pay for individual teachers, but is in favor of merit pay for schools (that is, incentivizing all the teachers at a school for increased performance). That she differentiates the two is interesting, as essentially the same arguments can be made against school merit pay that are made against teacher merit pay. She is also in favor of scholarships for teachers who teach in high-need schools, and for career-changers who enter teaching. She supports testing new teachers for knowledge and competence, but not veteran teachers.

In the past, Sen. Clinton came out very strongly against social promotion, but has been relatively quiet on the issue lately. This is most likely because there has not been that much attention to the phenomenon lately, since most states have passed very strict promotion guidelines in the wake of the reform movement.

Recently Sen. Clinton has proposed many education-related bills, including ones to reform the student loan system, give grants to states who increase graduation rates, develop principal-training programs, adopt voluntary national standards in science in math, and increasing access to mental health programs in schools. None of these have as of yet advanced past committee. She also is for increasing the maximum Pell Grant and introducing loan forgiveness for students who go into public service jobs.

Overall, Sen. Clinton's educational policies still need to be fleshed out. She has promised a detailed educational plan (which has yet to be produced) that will allow us to further illuminate her specific educational plans.

Elizabeth Hartline Green: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 2:00 PM, Aug 28, 2007 in Candidates on Education | Education
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