2016 U.S. Elections

iStock/Andrew Rich

Education & the 2016 Elections

Education is a perennial issue in political campaigns, and the 2016 election cycle is proving no exception. In the crowded field of White House candidates, education may not be the dominant issue, but it’s gained a solid foothold. And it’s sure to be a significant factor in other 2016 contests, including those for governor, with a dozen seats up for grabs.

Education is a perennial issue in political campaigns, and the 2016 election cycle is proving no exception. In the crowded field of White House candidates, education may not be the dominant issue, but it’s gained a solid foothold. And it’s sure to be a significant factor in other 2016 contests, including those for governor, with a dozen seats up for grabs.

In the presidential primary campaign, popular issues for Republicans include sharp criticism of the Common Core and teachers’ unions, expanding school choice, and rolling back the federal role in education. Also, efforts to make higher education more accessible and affordable are beginning to gain some attention from GOP candidates, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has signaled that he will introduce a sweeping college affordability plan this fall. The most detailed plan so far has come from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. He has introduced a variety of legislation on higher education, and in a major campaign speech this summer vowed to break up the “cartel” of higher education institutions by creating an alternative accreditation pathway for “low-cost, innovative competitors.”

The leading candidates for the Democratic nomination are especially focused on expanding access to early childhood and higher education. Both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (a political Independent and self-described democratic socialist) have rolled out ambitious and expensive plans for higher education. In fact, Sanders proposes to make tuition free at public colleges and universities. Clinton stops short of that with her College Compact, a wide-ranging, $350 billion plan over 10 years to make college more affordable. Among other things, it’s designed to help students graduate from public colleges and universities debt free, lower interest rates on college loans, and create pressure for states to adequately support higher education. Meanwhile, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has outlined a plan to make college “debt free.”

The top-tier Democratic contenders have been relatively quiet about K-12 issues. Some analysts have suggested that reticence springs from a desire to avoid the splintering politics on education “reform” between teachers’ unions and their allies, on one hand, and groups such as Democrats for Education Reform and some civil rights advocates on the other.

Education is especially fertile terrain in a White House contest that features so many current and former governors, given the critical role state policymakers play in funding and setting policy for education. Those candidates have deep records on the issue for reporters to mine and examine.

Although education has received very limited attention in the GOP presidential debates (virtually none in the September event), it got extensive treatment at an August forum co-hosted by the American Federation for Children and The Seventy Four, an online education news site. Six candidates participated, including Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Kasich, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has since dropped out of the race. (Here’s coverage of the event by Education Week and The New York Times.) As Education Week noted, the candidates discussed “the Common Core State Standards, teachers’ unions, the role of the federal government, the pending Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization, charter schools and more.” A companion event for Democratic candidates is scheduled for October.

The campaign cycle comes as Congress is closer than it’s been in years to revamping the main federal law for K-12 education, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (a.k.a. No Child Left Behind). Both the Republican-led House and Senate have approved versions of the legislation this year. Quite a few presidential contenders cast votes on the bipartisan Senate bill this summer, approved 81 to 17. Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio of Florida voted “no.” Sen. Sanders of Vermont voted “aye.” Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina did not vote. Some of these senators did sponsor individual amendments that reveal more about their priorities. The Senate legislation curtails the federal role in education somewhat, including by loosening federal requirements for school accountability. However, it retains a federal mandate for testing all students every year in grades 3-8 and once in high school.

Meanwhile, a dozen gubernatorial seats are in play in 2016, including Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, and a special election in Washington State. In November 2015, voters will select new governors for Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana; Jindal, a White House hopeful, is not seeking re-election. Other elections to watch include those for state and federal legislators, mayors, as well as elected state education chiefs and board members. In 2016, six states will hold elections for state education chiefs, including Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Washington State. Thousands of seats on local school boards will also be in play.

Furthermore, voters in at least some states likely will be asked to decide education questions for themselves through ballot measures. In prior years, education funding, expanding access to charter schools, and even teacher quality measures have been the topic of ballot questions.

Latest News

What We Learned About Betsy DeVos’s Higher Education Positions … Not Much

In a hearing that lasted three and a half hours, education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos revealed very little about how she intends to govern an agency that oversees thousands of colleges and universities and the trillions of dollars in loans and grants that help keep their doors open.

Higher education took a backseat to K-12 policy at Tuesday’s confirmation hearing, but the few times that senators asked DeVos about her stance on key regulations and the role of the government in student lending, she provided vague, noncommittal answers.

Member Stories

January 12-19
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

“While Trump spoke of his desire to reinvest in rural America, most of his education policy has had an urban focus,” Ben Felder writes for The Oklahoman in a story that’s part of a series leading up to the inauguration.


Kate Murphy of the Cincinnati Enquirer interviews the sexual assault survivor whose case launched a federal investigation of how the University of Cincinnati handles reports of sexual assault.


Latest News

Just How Much Money Has Donald Trump’s Secretary Of Education Choice Given To Republicans?

Since Donald Trump picked Michigan fundraiser and school voucher advocate Betsy DeVos as his secretary of Education, Democrats and other political observers have examined her generous political contributions and any conflicts they might pose.

On Tuesday, at DeVos’ confirmation hearing, Sen. Bernie Sanders raised the issue again, but DeVos, who is married to the billionaire heir to the Amway fortune, said she didn’t know how much her family had contributed to the Republican Party.

Sanders (I-Vt.) wasn’t deterred.

Latest News

Democrats Press Betsy DeVos on Privatization, ESSA, and LGBT Rights

Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Education, sought to use her confirmation hearing to beat back the notion that she would undermine public education as head of the department, as Democrats pressed her on everything from her views on the civil rights of gay and lesbian students, to states’ responsibilities for students in special education, and guns in schools. 

Latest News

Devos Pledges Not To Undo Public Education, Pushes Choice

In a sometimes contentious confirmation hearing, education secretary pick Betsy DeVos pledged that she would not seek to dismantle public schools amid questions by Democrats about her qualifications, political donations and long-time work advocating for charter schools and school choice.

DeVos said she would address “the needs of all parents and students” but that a one-size fits all model doesn’t work in education.

Latest News

What Betsy DeVos Did (and Didn’t) Reveal About Her Education Priorities

Donald Trump advocated on the campaign trail for a $20 billion federal school-voucher program. But during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday evening, Betsy DeVos, the president-elect’s choice to lead the U.S. Education Department, said school choice should be a state decision. She framed school choice as a right for students and families. And she said during the hearing that she was committed to strengthening public education for all students.

Latest News

Trump Education Pick Devos Promotes School Choice At Confirmation Hearing

Education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos voiced strong support for public school alternatives at her confirmation hearing Tuesday, telling senators that “parents no longer believe that a one-size-fits-all model of learning fits the needs of every child.”

DeVos told the Senate Health, Education and Pensions Committe that she would be “a strong advocate for great public schools” if confirmed, but added that “if a school is troubled, or unsafe, or not a good fit for a child … we should support a parent’s right to enroll their child in a high-quality alternative.”

Latest News

Devos Grilled By Democratic Leaders Over Her Advocacy For School Choice

Betsy DeVos, a Michigan advocate for school choice and vouchers and President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, vowed Tuesday to protect any schools – public, private or otherwise – as long as they are working for students and parents and serving their needs.

Facing Democrats who questioned DeVos’ support of school choice and what it may mean for public schools, DeVos said she supports “any great school” – including public schools and those beyond what “the (public school) system thinks is best for kids to what moms and dads want, expect and deserve.”

Latest News

Betsy DeVos’s Education Hearing Erupts Into Partisan Debate

At her confirmation hearing on Tuesday to be education secretary, Betsy DeVos vigorously defended her work steering taxpayer dollars from traditional public schools, arguing that it was time to move away from a “one size fits all” system and toward newer models for students from preschool to college.

The hearing quickly became a heated and partisan debate that reflected the nation’s political divide on how best to spend public money in education.

Latest News

Devos Dodges Toughest Questions About Public School Plans

Republican philanthropist Betsy DeVos pledged Tuesday that she would be “a strong advocate for great public schools,” if confirmed as Donald Trump’s Education secretary.

But when pressed by Democrats, she wouldn’t commit to keeping federal funding intact for traditional public schools.

EWA Radio

‘The Book of Isaias’: A Memphis DREAMer’s Uncertain Path
EWA Radio: Episode 106

Journalist Daniel Connolly spent a year embedded at a Memphis high school to learn first-hand about the educational experiences of Hispanic immigrants’ children. Connolly’s new book focuses on star student Isaias Ramos, “the hope of Kingsbury High.” The author explores how Isaias, born in the U.S., seeks to overcome obstacles to his plans for college. How did Connolly (The Memphis Commercial Appeal) gain such extraordinary access to the students, educators, and families of this school community? What does Isaias’ journey tell us about the hopes and aspirations of Hispanic immigrant families? And how are real world realities pressuring public schools to redefine expectations for student success?

Latest News

Can Betsy DeVos Be Blamed for the State of Detroit’s Schools? What You Need to Know

Donald Trump’s nominee to be the nation’s next secretary of education doesn’t live in Detroit. She doesn’t routinely work in Detroit, either.

But Detroit is nonetheless sure to be on the agenda when billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos sits down Tuesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee for the start of her confirmation hearings.

Latest News

Trump’s Pick for Education Could Face Unusually Stiff Resistance

Nominees for secretary of education have typically breezed through confirmation by the Senate with bipartisan approval.

But Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice for the post, is no typical nominee. She is a billionaire with a complex web of financial investments, including in companies that stand to win or lose from the department she would oversee. She has been an aggressive force in politics for years, as a prominent Republican donor and as a supporter of steering public dollars to private schools.

Latest News

As DeVos Confirmation Hearing Looms, Here’s How They Went for Past Nominees

Based on reactions from Senate Democrats and others in the education community, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is likely to face some heat when her confirmation hearing takes place Jan. 17 before the Senate education committee. But how will she fare compared with previous nominees who have gone under the microscope?

First, here are a couple of general questions about Devos’ hearing:

EWA Radio

‘Quality Counts’ – Rating the Nation’s Public Schools
EWA Radio: Episode 105

Education Week’s Mark Bomster (assistant managing editor) and Sterling Lloyd (senior research associate) discuss the 2017 “Quality Counts” report, which examines and rates state-level efforts to improve public education. This year’s edition features a special focus on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced No Child Left Behind as the backbone of the nation’s federal K-12 policy. How ready are states, districts, and schools for the policy shifts — and new flexibility — on school accountability, testing, and teacher evaluations under ESSA, among other issues? What are some story ideas for local reporters covering the implementation? Also, which states scored the highest on Education Week’s ratings when it comes to student achievement, equitable education spending, and the “Chance for Success” index? How can education writers use this data to inform their own reporting?

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Quickly Could Trump Change Public Education?

It’s shaping up to be a contentious year on the education beat, fueled in part by Donald Trump’s upset victory in the presidential election. For starters, in the days and weeks since his election, his campaign call for expanding school choice has sparked widespread discussion and debate.

Latest News

Teachers Unions Mount Campaign Against Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Pick

National teachers unions are mounting an aggressive campaign against Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, arguing that she is an ideological extremist with a record of undermining the public schools her department would oversee. The National Education Association, the largest labor union in the nation, is mobilizing teachers to call and email their senators, urging a vote against DeVos’s confirmation.

EWA Radio

2017: Big Education Stories to Watch
EWA Radio: Episode 104

Kate Zernike, The New York Times’ national education reporter, discusses what’s ahead on the beat in 2017. How will President-elect Donald Trump translate his slim set of campaign promises on education into a larger and more detailed agenda? What do we know about the direction Trump’s nominee for U.S. secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, will seek to take federal policy if she’s confirmed? Zernike also offers story ideas and suggestions for local and regional education reporters to consider in the new year. 

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

What’s Next for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics?
A Q&A With Outgoing Executive Director Alejandra Ceja

Alejandra Ceja has been the executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics since 2013 — a position she’ll give up at noon on Jan. 19, the day before the presidential inauguration. I recently sat down with her at the U.S. Department of Education to talk about the state of Latino education, the Initiative’s first 25 years, and what we can expect from the Initiative under the next administration. 

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length. 

Member Stories

December 22-29
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

What will education in California look like under President Trump? Nan Austin of The Modesto Bee offers her take, noting the ”stability built in by state law and sheer size.”


In this story on tall tales during exam week, one Indiana University professor tells Michael Reschke of The Herald-Times that this ”can be an especially dangerous time of year for grandmothers, grandfathers and pets,” who all seem to fall suddenly ill.


Latest News

‘School Choice’ Or ‘Privatization’? A Guide To Loaded Education Lingo In The Trump Era

Some people — including President-elect Donald Trump — believe that to improve U.S. education, the nation should stop spending so many tax dollars on public schools and instead invest in alternatives, including charter schools and taxpayer-funded vouchers for private and religious schools.

They say they are part of a movement for school choice, for empowering all parents, regardless of income, to select the best learning experience for their children.

EWA Radio

Students Can’t Recognize Fake News. That’s a Problem.
EWA Radio: Episode 103

Benjamin Herold of Education Week discusses why media literacy is in the spotlight in the wake of the presidential election, and the troubling findings of a new Stanford University study that showed the vast majority of students from middle school through college can’t identify “fake news.” Why are so many digital natives flunking when it comes to evaluating the reliability of material they encounter online? How are policymakers, researchers, and educators proposing that schools address this deficit in critical-thinking skills?

Latest News

Devos Heads into Confirmation with a Megadonor’s Advantage

Billionaire Betsy DeVos has been unabashed about using her wealth to advance her own agenda. “We expect a return on our investment,” she once wrote about her family’s massive political contributions.

After giving millions of dollars to politicians over the past two decades, she now heads into her Senate confirmation hearing for education secretary with a clear advantage: DeVos and her husband, Dick, have donated to the campaigns of 17 senators who will consider her nomination — four of whom sit on the Senate education committee that oversees the process.

EWA Radio

Who Is Betsy DeVos?
EWA Radio: Episode 102

Veteran education reporters from the Detroit Free Press and The Washington Post discuss Betsy DeVos, the billionaire school choice advocate nominated by President-elect Donald Trump. David Jesse of the Detroit newspaper sheds light on DeVos’ Michigan track record on legislative causes, and what is known about her tactics and negotiating style. Plus, he explains how DeVos’ strong religious beliefs have influenced her policy agenda. Emma Brown of The Washington Post details why Trump’s proposal for $20 billion in school vouchers might be a tough sell, even to a Republican-controlled Congress. And she sheds light on the potential for the next administration to dismantle President Obama’s education initiatives, including scaling back the reach of the Office for Civil Rights at the Education Department.

Latest News

Betsy DeVos’s Michigan Legacy

It’s clear how Betsy DeVos wants to change public education.

It’s equally clear how hard Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of Education will push, and how much she’ll spend, to make those changes. What’s less clear is whether her remedies for public education — unveiled in Michigan over more than two decades — actually help students learn.

Latest News

On Campus, Trump Fans Say They Need ‘Safe Spaces’

Conservatives and liberals on campuses across the country have been clashing throughout the campaign — and throughout this year of protest. But the conflict has gained new intensity since the election, and students, faculty and administrators say they expect tension to get worse once the presidential baton is passed on Inauguration Day in January.

Latest News

Will Higher Education Be ‘Trumped’ by State Lawmakers?

As the impact of the 2016 elections takes shape in statehouses, there are early signs that some policy proposals made by President-elect Donald J. Trump are prompting reactions from governors and state legislators. For those who work on higher-education policy in Washington and in statehouses, the most common reaction to the new administration is uncertainty about the direction in which the president-elect and his nominee for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, may steer the Department of Education when they take office, in January.

Latest News

Donald Trump’s Huge, Ambitious School Voucher Plan, Explained

When Donald Trump set out to pick the next education secretary, he faced a stark choice. He could choose an insider who had shaped education policy for a state or large school district. Or he could bring in an outsider — someone who views traditional public schools as a failed system in need of dismantling.

He picked an outsider.

Latest News

Experts Wary of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary

If you ask what the recent appointment of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education means for higher education, a common refrain — even among education policy and advocacy leaders — is that it’s too early to say.

“Given DeVos’ sparse record on postsecondary issues, we don’t know many specifics about what her appointment holds for issues such as access and diversity in higher ed,” said Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper, president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, of Washington, D.C.

Member Stories

November 17-December 1
Some of our favorite stories by EWA members in the last two weeks

Who is Betsy DeVos? Dale Mezzacappa, Greg Windle and Darryl Murphy of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook team up for a closer look at the Michigan billionaire who is poised to become the next U.S. secretary of education. 


Latest News

See Betsy DeVos’ Donations to Senators Who Will Oversee Her Confirmation

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, is best known in the education policy world as a school choice advocate. But on the national political stage, she and her husband, Dick DeVos Jr., the son of the founder of Amway, are perhaps best known as big-time donors to Republican candidates and groups.

Latest News

Trump’s Education Secretary Pick Led Group That Owes Millions In Election Fines

A school-choice advocacy group headed by billionaire Betsy DeVos owes the state of Ohio more than $5.3 million for election law violations — a record fine that is now nearly a decade past due.

DeVos is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Education Department. The unpaid fine dates back to 2008, when All Children Matter — a group that lobbied for school-choice legislation and was run by DeVos — broke Ohio election law by funneling $870,000 in contributions through its nationwide PAC to its Ohio affiliate, according to the Ohio Elections Commission.

Latest News

Final ESSA Accountability Rules Boost State Flexibility in Key Areas

The Obama administration’s final accountability rules for the Every Student Succeeds Act, issued Monday, give states greater flexibility on school ratings, schools with high testing opt-out rates, and in other areas than an earlier draft version, released in May. But, with President-elect Donald Trump set to take office in January, the regulations face an uncertain future. 

Latest News

Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Pick, Has Steered Money From Public Schools

It is hard to find anyone more passionate about the idea of steering public dollars away from traditional public schools than Betsy DeVos, Donald J. Trump’s pick as the cabinet secretary overseeing the nation’s education system. For nearly 30 years, as a philanthropist, activist and Republican fund-raiser, she has pushed to give families taxpayer money in the form of vouchers to attend private and parochial schools, pressed to expand publicly funded but privately run charter schools, and tried to strip teacher unions of their influence.

Latest News

Betsy DeVos: Fighter For Kids or Destroyer of Public Schools?

Betsy DeVos will either be a strong fighter for the education of kids or destroy public education. That about sums up the strong opinions about President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to appoint DeVos to the highest education role in the nation. School choice and charter advocates praised her appointment. Union officials, Democratic activists and public school advocates slammed it.

EWA Radio

‘Unprepared’ in Memphis: The Realities of College Readiness
EWA Radio: Episode 99

In a new series, Memphis Commercial Appeal reporter Jennifer Pignolet tells the story of Shelby County students working hard to make it to college — and to succeed once they arrive. And their challenges aren’t just financial: for some, like Darrius Isom of South Memphis, having reliable transportation to get to class on time is a game changer. And what are some of the in-school and extracurricular programs that students say are making a difference? Pignolet also looks at the the Tennessee Promise program, which provides free community college classes to qualified students, and assigns a mentor to help guide them. 

THANKSGIVING BONUS: EWA journalist members share some of the things they’re grateful for this year. 

Latest News

D.C.’s Public Charter School System Turned 20 This Year. Now What?

Malcolm “Mike” Peabody, a real estate developer and activist, believed that the failing schools and a lack of opportunities for poor black residents were a civil rights issue. He wanted to mend these impoverished neighborhoods by improving schools, but he thought it would be impossible given the hold the teachers union had on the school system. His solution: public education that could exist outside the D.C. Public Schools.

Latest News

Up to $25 Million Settlement Reported Near in Trump University Fraud Case

Settlement near in Trump University case: Source  1 Hour Ago | 00:59

President-elect Donald Trump is nearing a settlement in the Trump University fraud case, a source told CNBC on Friday.

The president-elect will agree to pay $20 million to $25 million to settle the complaint, which could happen as soon as Friday. Trump will not admit to any wrongdoing in the final agreement, the source said.

Latest News

Trump’s School Choice Expansion Plan May Face Uphill Battle

WASHINGTON — School voucher programs in the nation’s capital and Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana could serve as a blueprint for a Trump administration plan to use public money to enable disadvantaged students to attend the public or private school of their choice.

President-elect Donald Trump made clear that school choice would be an education priority.

Latest News

‘Is It Safe?’ Foreign Students Consider College in Donald Trump’s U.S.

NEW DELHI — At a college fair on Wednesday at the Le Méridien hotel here, 20 American universities made their pitches to aspiring students, many of whom had long hoped to study in the United States. But as the students checked out presentations from colleges ranging from the State University of New York at Binghamton to Abilene Christian University in Texas, several expressed concerns about going to America under a Donald J. Trump administration.

Latest News

School Choice Likely to Top Trump’s Agenda for K-12 Education

What might change in public schools after Donald Trump becomes president in January is anyone’s guess.

But experts and insiders are predicting that education changes will not be a high priority for the Trump administration. During a panel discussion Monday at the National Press Club, several experts said the new administration will likely be more focused on health care and immigration.

If there are changes for education, they will likely come first in higher education, where Trump has promised to privatize student loan programs, some said.

Latest News

Ivy League Students, Professors, Alumni Ask Schools To Be Sanctuaries For Undocumented Immigrants

Thousands of students, professors, alumni and others at elite schools including Harvard, Yale and Brown have signed petitions asking universities to protect undocumented students after a presidential campaign that made illegal immigration a flash point. President-elect Donald Trump made enforcement of immigration laws a touchstone, a position that was popular among many voters but leaves college officials deeply concerned about immigrant students who were admitted because of their academic achievement and potential.

Latest News

‘Education Not Deportation’: Hundreds of NYC Students Walk Out of Class, March to Trump Tower in Protest

Leaving biology, English, and calculus behind, hundreds of New York City high school students walked out of class and into the pouring rain, marching to Trump Tower exactly a week after the eponymous candidate’s victory. The march began around 10 a.m., when well over 100 students streamed out of Manhattan’s selective Beacon High School, chanting, “This is what democracy looks like!” and “Education, not deportation!” The protest coincided with others at colleges and university across the country.

Latest News

L.A.’s Education Board Sends a Message to Trump: Schools Will Stay ‘Safe Zones’ for Students Here Illegally

The nation’s second-largest school system on Tuesday sent a message to President-elect Donald Trump: Los Angeles’ public schools will continue to be “safe zones” for students in the U.S. illegally. The Los Angeles Board of Education voted to approve a resolution reaffirming L.A. Unified’s current policy, which directs school staff members not to allow federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents onto school campuses unless their visit has been approved by the superintendent and the district’s lawyers.

EWA Radio

Why A Trump Presidency Has Higher Ed on Edge
EWA Radio: Episode 98

Benjamin Wermund of Politico discusses the uncertainties ahead for the nation’s colleges and universities following the presidential election. While Donald Trump has offered few specifics on education policy, his surrogates suggest he will reverse course on many initiatives put in place under President Obama. That could have a significant impact on areas like Title IX enforcement, federal funding for research, and more. Higher education leaders are also facing a surge in reports of hate crimes and harassment on campuses that were already struggling with issues of free speech and diversity.

Latest News

Teachers’ Unions Spend Big, Reap Little in Elections

Over the last eight years, Republican-dominated statehouses and a White House bent on accountability dealt teachers’ unions a wave of setbacks on their key issues, whittling away at bargaining rights, instituting merit pay, expanding charter school and choice programs, and making budget cuts leading to teacher layoffs.

Latest News

5 Ways President Trump Could Affect Your Student Loans

Trump and the Republican Party didn’t emphasize higher education in their campaign platforms, leaving experts puzzled as to what policies a Trump administration might pursue. “We won’t know what priorities, if any, the administration has until we see what staff is in and what ideas they put out there,” says Matthew Chingos, senior fellow at the Washington think tank Urban Institute. Any proposed changes to the current federal student loan system would require congressional backing and action. Here’s what we may be able to expect:

Latest News

A Good Year for Education Ballot Measures, Not Bonds

Voters (in Oregon) appear to support outdoor school, technical education, and public universities investing in equities, but seem to be turning a cold shoulder toward local school district bond measures. Early election results Tuesday night showed all education-related ballot measures passed, but the three local district bond measures did not.

Latest News

School Districts Offer Counseling Support After Trump Victory As Officials Try to Calm Fears

Some school districts are offering counseling services to students and staff upset about the election of Donald Trump to the presidency while school and community leaders sent out messages urging calm.

Parents dropping their students off at schools in different areas reported seeing teachers crying, and teachers said non-white students expressed fears that they and their families would be negatively affected by a Trump administration.

Latest News

Which Washington-Area School Will Barron Trump Attend?

It’s been 35 years since a First Kid has attended a school other than Sidwell Friends, the private school whose student body has included Chelsea Clinton and both Obama girls. The elite Quaker institution in leafy upper northwest Washington has educated many a political offspring, from Vice President Biden’s grandchildren to Al Gore III to both Nixon daughters.

But will President-elect Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, enroll their 10-year-old son, Barron, there? Some educational experts say it’s unlikely.

Latest News

Educators Ponder Meaning of a Trump Presidency

President-elect Donald Trump said very little about education during the bruising and divisive campaign, leaving those who devote their life to it baffled and unsure about what he’ll actually do and what his policy choices will be.

The Republican has pushed for school choice using federal block grants and for giving private lenders control of the student loan system, as well as calculating students’ loans based on the kind of jobs they’ll likely be able to get.

Latest News

Nation’s Longest-Serving Superintendent, June Atkinson, Loses Office in N.C. – State EdWatch – Education Week

North Carolina’s Democratic state schools chief June Atkinson, the nation’s longest-serving superintendent, was ousted in her re-election bid by Republican Mark Johnson, a member of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education, according to the Associated Press. 

Atkinson was elected in 2005 and was twice re-elected. During her tenure, she fought to raise teacher pay and helped North Carolina gain a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act and a federal Race to the Top grant.  

Latest News

Georgia Elections: What now for failed School Takeover plan

Constitutional amendments usually pass without much of a fight in Georgia, but the well-funded campaign to put the state in the business of fixing failing schools was confronted by a rebellion with even more money.

More than $7 million, an unheard of sum for a constitutional amendment, armed the battle over Gov. Nathan Deal’s Opportunity School District. Unlike the other three ballot amendments Tuesday, two of which passed with more than 80 percent of the vote, Amendment 1 failed with just 40 percent of the vote.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Will Education Fare Under President Trump?

The long, strange election cycle came to an end Tuesday with the election of Donald Trump as the next president. And while his campaign platform was scarce on education policy details, there’s no question his administration will have a significant impact, from early childhood to K-12 and higher education

Latest News

Glenda Ritz Defeated By Her Republican Challenger In A Big Election Night Upset

For the second time in four years, a political newcomer has unexpectedly triumphed over the incumbent in the race for Indiana state superintendent.

Republican Jennifer McCormick took an early lead over incumbent Democrat Glenda Ritz and maintained it throughout the night, ending at about 10 p.m. Tuesday when the race was called with a 7 percentage point victory over Ritz. McCormick said her leadership experience helped her pull off the win.

Latest News

Trump Victory Will Be A Jolt For Higher Education

Donald Trump stunned the pundits and confounded the pollsters on Tuesday by being elected president of the United States. Many in higher education — including many college leaders who had long lists of objections to Hillary Clinton’s plan for free public higher education — were horrified by the prospect of a Trump presidency.

Latest News

Donald Trump Elected 45th President of the U.S.

Republican Donald Trump, whose brash campaign for the White House included strong support for school choice and sharp denunciations of current education policy, has been elected president of the United States, the Associated Press reported early Wednesday.

Latest News

More Powerful Than Campaign Cash? See Teachers’ Unions Volunteering Stats

Teachers’ unions are known for giving millions in campaign cash to the candidates they endorse. But they actually may have a more powerful tool in their arsenal: shoe leather, said Patrick McGuinn, a political science professor at Drew University.

So how many teachers and retired educators decided to pound pavement for the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers this election season on behalf of Hillary Clinton—the Democratic nominee endorsed by both unions—and other candidates?

Latest News

Video: Here’s What Memphis Schoolchildren Have to Say About Picking the Next President

When it came to choosing who should be the next president of the United States, 9-year-old Jamiera Willis did her homework.

“I took my papers home and did some studies on that person,” said the fourth-grader at W.H. Brewster Elementary School in Memphis. “I went on the YouTube and watched election videos. I went on the internet and researched and saw all the things they’ve been doing.”


Latest News

Ballots, Registration and ‘I Voted’ Stickers: These Middle-Schoolers Have Everything Except a Vote

The line of voters snaked outside a classroom Monday, through the outdoor hallways of Woodland Hills Academy middle school. 

The holdup: voter registration. There were 225 students in the sixth grade precinct, and it was taking them some time to find their names on a check-in list.

To get there, they had to pass a display near the main office featuring posters with information about each presidential candidate.

Latest News

Still Haven’t Made Up Your Mind? Here’s What The Candidates Say About Education

The candidates aren’t talking much about education. But we are.

Voters are, too — education is rated as one of the top campaign issues this election cycle.

Why? Well, even though a lot of education policy is determined at a local level, the federal government still plays a huge role. Like the nearly $15 billion spent on Title I funding that goes to over half of all schools in America. Or the $30 billion in Pell Grants to help students pay for college. Or the $12 billion that goes to local districts to help students with disabilities.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Latino Students, Charter Schools and the Massachusetts Ballot Question

This Election Day, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in the state — a hotly contested ballot measure that’s drawn more than $34 million in fundraising among the two sides and garnered national attention, with parents of students of color and advocates for minority students on both sides of the issue.

Latest News

Secretary of State Contradicts LePage’s Warning to College Students About Maine Residency, Voter Fraud

LEWISTON — On the eve of Election Day, Gov. Paul LePage stoked fears of voter fraud by college students after fliers showed up around Bates College over the weekend that falsely said students had to register their cars and update their driver’s licenses in Maine in order to vote.

The Republican governor lashed out at Democrats for recruiting college students to vote, saying the practice could lead to double voting, even though there is no evidence to support his assertion.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

When Schools Close for Voting, Do Students Miss Out?

Fearing higher-than-usual potential for unruly voters, school districts across the country have canceled classes at campuses used as Election Day polling stations. But some civics advocates say the decisions result in the loss of a powerful “teachable moment.”

Latest News

Why Penn Won’t Talk About Donald Trump

While Hillary Clinton’s Wellesley College prepares for an election night jubilee, the mood at Donald Trump’s alma mater in West Philadelphia is closer to terrified. At Wharton, one of the world’s most respected (and demanding) business schools, students have recoiled at being linked to a wheeler-dealer whose business record suggests more skill at financial chicanery than genuine company-building. Thousands of alumni have signed an anti-Trump open letter.

Latest News

Trump-Clinton? Charter Schools Are the Big Issue on Massachusetts’ Ballot

in deep blue Massachusetts, the contentious campaigning is not for president but for a ballot question on whether to expand charter schools. The pitched battle in this state, known as a bellwether on education policy, reflects the passions that charter schools arouse nationwide, particularly regarding a central part of the debate: If they offer children in lagging traditional public schools an alternative path to a quality education, do they also undermine those schools and the children in them?

Latest News

Spending Ramps Up in Race for Washington Schools Chief

One of the largest independent expenditures in Washington state elections this year has come in the race for schools children. 

The education reform organization Stand for Children’s PAC has bought $164,887 worth of mailers for the Erin Jones campaign for Superintendent of Public Instruction. The PAC spent another $12,809 yesterday on last-minute robocalls for Jones’s campaign.

Latest News

School Principal and Secretary Take Heat for Trump and Clinton Costumes

Principal Mark Rowicki greeted his students at Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton, Va., on Monday dressed as Donald Trump, a get-up that included a Trump campaign button pinned to his lapel and a “Make America Great Again” hat.

The school secretary also got in the spirit that day, donning a short blond wig, a chain belt and an orange jumpsuit — not unlike one worn by prisoners — with a “Hillary R. Clinton” name tag.

Latest News

In Bid to Lift Mass. Charter Cap, Pitched Battle Rages

A simple yes-or-no question being put to Massachusetts voters next month—whether a cap on the number of charter schools allowed to open in the state should be lifted—has turned into a national political battle between charter advocates and those who oppose the publicly funded but independently run schools.

Latest News

Charter Question Splits Suburbs — Even Suburbs With No Charter Schools

Gov. Charlie Baker argues in an ad supporting Question 2, which would allow 12 new charter schools a year, that the change would not affect suburban districts.

Baker’s message directly targets suburban voters: “If you like your school, Question 2 won’t affect you,” the governor says, “but Question 2 will change the future for thousands of kids who need your help.”

Latest News

Trump Rhetoric Complicates Border Crossing for Students

All along the U.S.-Mexico border, hundreds of children from kindergarten on up make their way through checkpoints and guard stations each day to study. This has been happening for decades. Many, like Vidaña Sanchez, are Americans born to Mexican parents who desperately want to create a better life for their offspring and see education as the path forward.

Latest News

See Our Analysis of Where the Common Core Stands in States

As states continue to address the Common Core State Standards in various ways, more and more people have been wondering about the status of the common core nationally.

It’s a complicated issue, in large part because clear and direct repeals of the common core are not especially common. We last checked in on where common core stands last summer. Now we’ve updated our map to reflect the standards’ position in states. 

Latest News

Boulder 5th Graders Find Hope, Yes Hope, In the 2016 Election

(Nathaniel Minor/CPR News) In this fractious election season, we searched — and we found — some hopeful voices. There’s a catch, though: They can’t vote. But they want you to.

Fifth graders from the Boulder Community School of Integrated Studies recently took a field trip to the University of Colorado Boulder campus, where they shared their get out the vote message with college students. Along the way, they tackled important issues about who gets to vote — and who historically hasn’t been allowed to.

Latest News

Trump, Clinton Focus On Early Childhood Needs More Reseach

Focusing on young children is one of the few things Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seem to agree on—after all, who wouldn’t want to help little kids? But the political palatability of the issue could also be one reason early-education programs that may not actually help young children succeed are allowed to flourish.

Latest News

On Charter Schools, A New Partisan Divide

Massachusetts’ 23-year-old charter school experiment has long enjoyed bipartisan support. Just a few months ago, polls showed Democrats and Republicans alike supported an upcoming ballot measure that would allow for more of the schools.

But recent surveys show Democrats turning against the question — breaking the broad consensus on charters and threatening to stall one of the country’s most ambitious efforts to reshape public education.

Latest News

Trump U Staff Included Drug Trafficker, Child Molester

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump says he hand-picked only the best to teach success at Trump University. But dozens of those hired by the company had checkered pasts — including serious financial problems and even convictions for cocaine trafficking or child molestation, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The AP identified 107 people listed as speakers and staff on more than 21,000 pages of customer-satisfaction surveys the Republican presidential nominee has released as part of his defense against three lawsuits.

Latest News

Fearing Election Day Trouble, Some U.S. Schools Cancel Classes

FALMOUTH, Maine — Rigged elections. Vigilante observers. Angry voters. The claims, threats and passions surrounding the presidential race have led communities around the U.S. to move polling places out of schools or cancel classes on Election Day.

The fear is that the ugly rhetoric of the campaign could escalate into confrontations and even violence in school hallways, endangering students.

Latest News

Hillary Clinton’s Free-College Plan Draws Scrutiny

Hillary Clinton has reached out to younger voters and parents with a plan to allow most Americans to attend state colleges tuition-free, arguing it would remove one of the fastest-growing costs for households while boosting the nation’s workforce.

But a growing chorus of policy experts, economists and some college officials say the plan would deliver hundreds of billions of additional dollars to schools with no guarantee that they spend it wisely and keep costs in check.

Latest News

For Some Republicans, Trump’s Higher-Ed Proposals Reflect ‘Lost Opportunity’

Less than a month before Election Day, the Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump introduced some ideas for reforming higher education.

But the measures, which include a new formula for income-based repayment of student loans, have surprised political and policy analysts for their substance and for their late timing, compared with Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

Latest News

Teachers Get Schooled on Talking Race

Here’s the scenario: a teenage boy and girl are arguing about the presidential election in their school cafeteria. The boy tells the girl he’s supporting Trump because he’ll build a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants. The girl says she’s of Mexican descent and that she considers the boy’s remarks racist. A teacher overhearing this lunchroom conversation should:

A) Get the kids to calm down, tell them they’re each entitled to their opinion and change the topic.

B) Offer a history lesson on how Texas actually used to be part of Mexico.

Member Stories

October 13-20
Some of our favorite stories by EWA members this week

Who will win the U.S. presidential election? Just ask America’s schoolchildren, who have accurately predicted the last 13 presidential elections, Greg Toppo of USA TODAY reports. This year’s nationwide mock election showed a landslide victory for Hillary Clinton.


Chicago could become the first U.S. city to cap its number of charter schools using a union contract, Lauren FitzPatrick writes for the Chicago Sun-Times.


EWA Radio

Is ‘Trump Effect’ Hurting Students?
EWA Radio: Episode 94

Donald Trump speaks at campaign rally.

New York Times best-selling author Dana Goldstein (“The Teacher Wars”) discusses her reporting for Slate on whether Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s fiery rhetoric is trickling down into classrooms. Teachers across the country have reported an increase in bullying and other inappropriate behavior. Some organizations – such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Federation of Teachers – say those problems are a direct reflection of the tumultuous political season. But how much of this really starts outside of schools, and what are reasonable expectations for schools to navigate controversial political events? Goldstein offers insights and historical context for teachers who must balance instructional objectivity with their own political views. She also suggests story ideas for reporters covering the issue in local schools. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

More Students Are Graduating, But That’s Not the Whole Story

As federal education officials tout a fourth consecutive year of improvement in the nation’s high school graduation rate, the reactions that follow are likely to fall into one of three categories: policymakers claiming credit for the gains; critics arguing that achievement gaps are still far too wide to merit celebrating; and policy wonks warning against misuses of the data.

Member Stories

September 29-October 6
What we're reading by EWA members this week

In the first story of a new series for The Hechinger Report, Lynell Hancock writes about Greenville, Mississippi, whose school district was the first in the state to “defy the governor and voluntarily offer real choice for white and black children to enroll in each other’s schools.”


One year after the deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, the unity and solidarity of the surrounding community hasn’t waned, Andrew Theen reports for The Oregonian.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Education at Forefront in Statewide Elections

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock talks with students at the Billings Career Center in August 2016. The state's gubernatorial race is being closely watched by education advocates. (Casey Page/The Billings Gazette)

With so much attention focused on the campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, voters could be forgiven for forgetting they’ll be asked to decide plenty more in November. And the stakes are high for K-12 education in state-level elections, including races for governor, state education chief, and legislative seats, plus ballot measures on education funding and charter schools.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Presidential Debate: Play EWA Buzzwords Bingo!

Flickr/Edwin Torres

Will education get more than a passing reference in tonight’s first presidential debate? We shall see. But with the help of EWA members, we’ve assembled a digital bingo card of popular education buzzwords and phrases you may hear. 

Use the digital card to play along on Twitter using the #EWABingo hashtag. If you are planning a debate-watching party — and who isn’t? — you can also print out multiple cards.


Higher Ed in the Election
The U.S. Elections & Education: Part 1

Higher Ed in the Election

During the Democratic presidential primaries, the debate was over whether to make public colleges tuition-free or debt-free for students. Now that Democrat Hillary Clinton has picked up the tuition-free banner, how might her proposal affect higher education? Meanwhile, Republican nominee Donald Trump has suggested he might change the federal government’s role in lending to students altogether. Experts address what the candidates’ ideas could mean for colleges and students.


Pre-K-12 Education in the 2016 Race
The U.S. Elections & Education: Part 1

Pre-K-12 Education in the 2016 Race

Experts and advocates assess how early childhood and K-12 education issues are factoring into the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They offer analysis of the candidates’ campaign positions and explore the complex politics of education policy. They also discuss other key elections around the nation with big stakes for education.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

As Convention Dust Settles, Where Do Clinton and Trump Stand on Education?

Balloons drop over the crowd in Philadelphia following Hillary Clinton's acceptance of the Democratic Party's nomination for president. (Andrew Ujifusa/Education Week)

When compared to Donald Trump’s single education policy-related sentence in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, Hillary Clinton’s remarks on the subject Thursday night were certainly more extensive, as she sought to emphasize a track record of making schools, teachers, families, and students her political — and personal — priorities.

Member Stories

July 21-28
Some of our favorite stories by EWA members this week

Anne Holton, wife of vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, is “a power in her own right,” Louis Llovio of the Richmond Times-Dispatch writes of Virginia’s secretary of education. 


Lauren Camera of U.S. News & World Report takes a closer look at segregation in schools at a time when racial tensions — fueled by recent police killings of black men – are high across the country. 


Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Seven Higher Ed Stories Journalists Should Be Covering This Year

Inside Higher Ed Editor Scott Jaschik started his annual listing of higher education stories ripe for coverage this upcoming year by asking journalists to do better when choosing which news developments to cover.

In May, just before Jaschik’s presentation at the Education Writers Association’s conference in Boston, President Obama’s daughter Malia had recently committed to attending Harvard University and taking a “gap year.”

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

The Republican Plan For Higher Education: Less Red Tape And Less Money

By Bjoertvedt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Past is prologue.

That’s what Republicans promise in the higher education platform they’ll finalize at their national convention in Cleveland: an approach that follows the direction they’ve already taken in Congress.

Fewer regulations for colleges and universities. Less red tape for students.

Less money.

“Obviously what we do legislatively is a statement of our philosophy and our principles,” said Virginia Foxx, Republican chair of the House subcommittee that oversees higher education and co-chair of the GOP platform committee.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Teachers’ Union Applauds Clinton Address, Except on Charters

Hillary Clinton shares her views and agenda for education in a July 5 speech to delegates for the National Education Association.
Photo credit: @KristenRec

Hillary Clinton vowed to be a partner with educators if she wins the White House, during a speech today to the nation’s largest teachers’ union. Clinton drew enthusiastic applause from National Education Association members for most of the address, including her calls to make preschool universally available, boost teacher pay, and ease the burden of paying for higher education.

But the presumptive Democratic nominee got a far more muted response, and even some jeers, when she made a positive plug — albeit very briefly — for charter schools.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Higher Education and the 2016 Presidential Election

Flickr/Michael Vadon (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The first total solar eclipse to sweep across the entire continental United States in 38 years will occur on August 21, 2017. Don’t expect reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) anytime before then.

The HEA expired at the end of 2013 and it’s likely nothing will happen with it in an election year or soon thereafter, agreed a panel of journalists discussing key higher education issues and the 2016 presidential election, at the Education Writers Association National Seminar in Boston in May.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Student Protests Spread in Oregon After Latest ‘Build a Wall’ Clash

This election season, it has become common to read about candidates’ anti-immigrant rhetoric trickling down into schools and, in many cases, being used to insult Latino students. Over the past several days, the polarizing phrase “build a wall” — presumed to be inspired by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s immigration plan to curb illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border — has been making headlines in Oregon, as it has inspired hundreds of studen

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Trump’s Education Agenda, in 52 Seconds

Trump’s Education Agenda, in 52 Seconds

With Donald Trump now seen as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, after his strong victory in the Indiana primary, attention surely will grow to what he would actually do if elected.

If you want to know where Trump stands on education, you might think the first place to go would be his campaign website.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

K-12 Education Seen as Side Issue in White House Race

Source: Flickr/ via Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

K-12 education hasn’t been a top theme this presidential campaign cycle, but reporters could be more aggressive in mining information from the candidates on the topic, analysts said at a national forum this week.

Historically, education hasn’t played prominently on the campaign trail, said Martin West, an associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The 2016 presidential election is no exception – although this race for the White House has also proven wildly unpredictable.


The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on Our Nation’s Schools
Southern Poverty Law Center

Every four years, teachers in the United States use the presidential election to impart valuable lessons to students about the electoral process, democracy, government and the responsibilities of citizenship.

But, for students and teachers alike, this year’s primary season is starkly different from any in recent memory. The results of an online survey conducted by Teaching Tolerance suggest that the campaign is having a profoundly negative effect on children and classrooms.

EWA Radio

Why President Obama Should Teach
EWA Radio: Episode 65

(Flickr/The White House)

When President Obama leaves office in January, there will be no shortage of big-name corporations and Ivy League universities clamoring for his skills. But in a recent essay for The New Yorker Magazine, contributor Cinque Henderson — a former writer for Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” — suggests President Obama consider teaching at a historically black college or university (HBCU), community college, or even an urban high school.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Record Youth Turnout for Iowa Caucuses

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders talks with Iowa voters. The youth vote played a part in his virtual  tie with Secretary Hillary Clinton in the state's Democratic caucus, experts say. (Flickr/iprimages)

More than 22,000 young voters participated in the Republican caucuses Monday, a record turnout, according to an advocacy group for civic education.

The youth vote helped Texas Sen. Ted Cruz finish ahead of businessman Donald Trump, according to the Center on Information for Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University in Boston.

EWA Radio

Iowa Is First: The Presidential Candidates – and Their Education Plans
EWA Radio: Episode 57

(Flickr/Phil Roeder)

Iowa prides itself on holding the first caucuses of the presidential election year. EWA public editor Emily Richmond talks with statewide education reporter Mackenzie Ryan of the Des Moines Register about what it’s like to be at the epicenter of the presidential race insanity, her coverage of Republican hopeful Marco Rubio, and the big concerns for Iowa voters when it comes to public schools. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Can Youth Vote Change Election Outcomes?

University of Missouri students volunteering at a campus voter registration event in 2012. The youth vote could be a critical factor in this year's elections, as well, experts say. (Flickr/KOMU News via Creative Commons)

With the first caucuses of the presidential election year imminent, it’s worth asking: Who will turn out among young voters in Iowa and subsequent states? And could their choices help swing the final result to the underdogs instead of the presumed front-runners?


Jeb Bush & Higher-Education Reform: Forget ‘Free College’
Andrew Kelly and Jason Delisle for National Review

Federal higher-education policy is in shambles. The strategy of the past 40 years — to increase student aid, watch tuition rise, and increase student aid again — has reached a breaking point. Federal loans flow freely with few questions asked, giving colleges every incentive to raise tuition and enroll more students, but less reason to worry about whether those students learn anything. Tuition at the average public four-year college has nearly quadrupled since the early 1980s, pushing more students into debt.

Key Coverage

Colleges in the 2016 Crosshairs

With college tuition continuing to rise and student debt now topping $1 trillion, a growing number of American voters say they’re anxious about paying for college. This “collective angst,” as this article puts it, has pushed college affordability to the forefront of the 2016 presidential campaigns, with Democrats calling for free (or at least “debt free”) college, and Republicans calling for more innovation and efficiency.


What College Affordability Means for the Election
Education & the 2016 White House Race

What College Affordability Means for the Election

College affordability has become a key topic in the 2016 presidential campaign, whether through Democratic candidates’ outlining varying approaches to a debt-free education at public universities or Republican contenders’ suggesting income-sharing arrangements and accreditation reform. A discussion of the nuances and potential of these ideas.

  • Jason Delisle, New America
  • Terry Hartle, American Council on Education
  • Neal McCluskey, Cato Institute
  • Colin Seeberger, Young Invincibles
  • Kimberly Hefling, Politico (moderator)

Student Testing in America’s Great City Schools
Council of Great City Schools

Testing in the nation’s schools is among the most debated issues in public education today. Much of this discussion has centered on how much we are testing students and how we use test results to evaluate teachers, inform instructional practice, and hold schools and educators accountable. A recent national poll by Phi Delta Kappa underscores the fact that the public at large is concerned about the extent of testing in schools, and these concerns are influencing how people think about the nationwide move to adopt and implement the new Common Core State Standards.

Key Coverage

Make College Free for All

Today, there is universal access to free, public schools across the United States for kindergarten through 12th grade. That didn’t happen by presidential decree. It took populist pressure from the progressive movement, beginning in the 1890s, to make widespread access to free public schools a reality. By 1940, half of all young people were graduating from high school. As of 2013, that number is 81 percent. But that achievement is no longer enough. A college degree is the new high school diploma.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Higher Ed. Gets Brief Spotlight During Democratic Debate


It took nearly two hours, but education — more specifically college affordability and some differences in how to address it — came to the fore in the first Democratic presidential debate after CNN co-moderator Dana Bush asked both Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about their plans.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Debt-Free College: Why It’s News Now

As Democratic presidential hopefuls assemble in Las Vegas today for their first formal debate, one topic that has received little airtime during the Republican face-offs is likely to garner far more attention: the high cost of attaining a college degree.