Education Discussed at CEF Presidential Forum

May 2016

The Committee for Education Funding (CEF) held a Presidential Forum on May 26, where representatives from the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders presidential campaigns spoke about their candidates’ education platforms. The forum provided the chance for the education community to hear from Ann O’Leary, Senior Policy Advisor for Clinton, and Donni Turner, a policy advisor for Sanders, on their respective campaign’s education proposals. Candy Crowley, former chief political correspondent at CNN, moderated.

Donald Trump’s campaign, which was invited to participate, declined to do so.

Much of the conversation focused on higher education, as both Clinton and Sanders have laid out plans to reduce debt for college students. Turner noted Sanders’ proposal to incentivize states to invest more in public higher education, as states have reduced their spending for postsecondary education in recent years.

O’Leary discussed Clinton’s priorities, which include investments in early childhood education, pointing to evidence that high-quality pre-kindergarten programs have shown effects for higher lifetime earnings and educational attainment. O’Leary also highlighted the need to focus on decreasing gaps in education that exist because of socioeconomic status, citing AERA members Robert Putnam and sean reardon for their research in this area. The forum provided some insight as to what extent the presidential candidates would incorporate evidence and research in education policy.

After hearing from the Democratic presidential campaigns, Crowley moderated a panel of think-tank representatives that included Lindsey Burke from the Heritage Foundation, Nat Malkus of the American Enterprise Institute, and Carmel Martin from the Center for American Progress. The panel responded to questions covering a wide range of issues, including teacher preparation, adult literacy, and informal learning opportunities.

AERA is a member of CEF, a coalition of 115 members, founded in 1969 with the goal of achieving adequate federal financial support for the country’s education system.