Where is Education in the Republican Party’s Presidential Nominee Debates!

Dear Commons Community,

The Republican candidates are getting ready for yet another debate tonight (ABC-News) just before the New Hampshire primary.  These debates have covered many topics but education has not been one of them.  Other than a few passing comments about Democratic proposals for free college tuition, none of the Republican candidates have said very much about the state of our schools and colleges.  The Huffington Post did a summary of the Republican debates and came up with this analysis:

“ … an analysis of transcripts from each of the 14 Republican presidential debates, which includes both undercard and the main debates, shows the candidates only discussed education in earnest 11 times. 

In 12 of the GOP debates, no candidate even uttered the word “teacher.” In the other two debates where the word was used, it was in the context of the taxes that a teacher married to a cop would pay, and about governors who sparred with teacher’s unions. 

Looking at the first four official Democratic debates, not including the extra forums, the candidates have talked about education policies at least 38 times. (Democrats have talked about college affordability extensively) 

Some Republican candidates mentioned college or education a handful of other times that we did not include in our count because they were just references in passing: 

  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Neurosurgeon Ben Carson both mocked Sanders’ free college plan.
  • Ex-HP executive Carly Fiorina briefly stated that the federal government was responsible for the student debt problem, but didn’t say anything else about it and instead pivoted to talk about the Federal Communications Commission. 
  • Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum talked about helping people who did not go to college find jobs in five debates before he bowed out of the race.
  • Ted Cruz (R-Texas) mentioned graduates being in student debt “up to their eyeballs,” but didn’t discuss the issue further. 

Republicans should come to understand that education matters for now and for our future.  How about a few ABCs tonight!



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