5 education issues that should be on the presidential candidates’ radar

Many say the presidential candidates’ debates and discussions lack a focus on education—here are the issues the candidates should research

The presidential campaign and debates among candidates have shed light on the issues most important to the U.S. public—and among those issues is K-12 education, from new laws and policy, equity and broadband internet access, to open educational resources.

College affordability has been a topic of discussion, and some Republican candidates have argued over Common Core State Standards and even flirted with the idea of abolishing the U.S. Department of Education. But are the candidates really talking about K-12 education? Many education stakeholders would say no.

Here, we offer a handful of K-12 education issues, along with important developments pertaining to each issue, which should be on the presidential candidates’ radar and present in their debates as November nears.

1. New ESSA laws and moving away from NCLB

“The bipartisan reform of No Child Left Behind was an important start, and together, we’ve increased early childhood education, lifted high school graduation rates to new highs, and boosted graduates in fields like engineering,” President Obama said of ESSA during a brief mention of education in his Jan. 12 State of the Union address.

The Every Student Succeeds Act gives states the power to determine their own academic goals and measure progress toward those goals–a departure from NCLB, which aimed for 100 percent math and reading proficiency by 2014. States or districts will be in charge of determining how to improve persistently underperforming schools. Previously, NCLB gave the federal government a strong voice in what happened to those schools.

Next page: Four more K-12 education issues for presidential candidates to discuss

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Laura Ascione

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