Trump, Clinton differ sharply on child care, education

Posted at 12:58 PM, Sep 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-14 14:58:48-04

DENVER — Parents of all political persuasions are eager to hear where their presidential candidate stands on child care and education, and as with most issues, Trump and Clinton differ sharply.

Donald Trump rolled out a plan Tuesday aimed at making child care more affordable, guaranteeing new mothers six weeks of paid maternity leave and suggesting new incentives for employees to provide their workers childcare.

Hillary Clinton proposes that no family should spend more than 10 percent of its income on child care. To achieve this goal, Clinton would seek to boost federal spending on child care subsidies and provide "tax relief for the cost of child care to working families.”

TRUMP: The billionaire businessman has embraced the concept popular among conservatives, which calls for students and their parents to be able to select the school they wish to attend - public, private, charter or magnet. To support that effort, Trump proposed reallocating an unspecified $20 billion in his first budget as president into block grants to states, and directing them to use the money to help millions of elementary school students living in poverty attend the school of their choice. That money "should follow the students," a concept known in education policy as portability. Critics of school choice argue that approach would deprive public schools of money, and Congress rejected the idea in the education law it passed last year to replace the No Child Left Behind Act.

CLINTON: Clinton has voiced support for charter schools, which operate with public money but are governed by an independent "charter" rather than a community's established public education system. But Clinton does not back the broader concept of school choice. "I want parents to be able to exercise choice within the public school system - not outside of it - but within it, because I am still a firm believer that the public school system is one of the real pillars of our democracy and it is a path for opportunity," she said in November 2015.

TRUMP: He has decried the impact of debt from loans on college students, but beyond his often-stated promise to create jobs as president, he has not offered a concrete proposal to address what he called "one of the biggest questions I get is from people in college." Trump has criticized the federal government's student loan program for making a profit, telling The Hill newspaper in July 2015 "that's probably one of the only things the government shouldn't make money off. I think it's terrible that one of the only profit centers we have is student loans."

CLINTON: She has proposed that students from families making less than $125,000 a year be able to attend a public college or university in their home state without having to pay tuition, and that all community colleges be tuition-free. Under her plan, students with existing student loan debt would be able to refinance, and Clinton promises a three-month moratorium on payments to allow those in debt to take steps to reduce their monthly payments. Those deemed "entrepreneurs" will get a three-year deferment on their loans "so that student debt and the lack of family wealth is not a barrier to innovation in our country."

TRUMP: The academic standards adopted in more than 40 states are a frequent target of Trump's ire. "We spend more by far, and we're doing very poorly. So, obviously, Common Core does not work," he said this past week. Trump has pledged to do away with the standards if elected, which could prove a challenge: they were created and adopted by states, not the federal government. Trump has also pledged that ripping up the state-developed standards and bringing education "to the local level" would immediately boost student performance.

CLINTON: The standards are not mentioned in Clinton's education plans, although her campaign does note that as the first lady of Arkansas, she chaired the state's education standards commission. Speaking in Iowa during the primary season, Clinton lamented what she called the "really unfortunate argument" about the standards. "It wasn't politicized," she said. "It was to try to come up with a core of learning that we might expect students to achieve across our country, no matter what kind of school district they were in, no matter how poor their family was, that there wouldn't be two tiers of education."

TRUMP: Trump has not discussed early childhood education.

CLINTON: She would seek to make preschool universal for all 4-year-old children within 10 years of her election by providing new federal dollars to states. Clinton also seeks to double the number of children enrolled in Early Head Start, a government program that provides early education services to low-income families. Clinton has not detailed in depth on how she would pay for these expanded efforts.