What’s at Stake for Education in the 2020 Election

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Photo credit: Hanna Varady/Getty
Photo credit: Hanna Varady/Getty

From Marie Claire

In regard to education policy in the November 2020 election, from student loan policy and COVID-19 education rules to public versus for-profit schools, much of it comes down to one woman: Betsy DeVos. President Trump’s Secretary of Education, a woman who has been described as “the most unpopular person in our government,” is behind what some pundits describe as the longest-lasting and most seismic legacies of the current administration. In particular, critics have taken aim at DeVos’ policies that work towards defunding and delegitimizing public education.

It’s likely that under another term of President Trump and DeVos, public schools will continue to suffer and lose resources; meanwhile, private, religious, and for-profit institutions are likely to be deregulated and given tools to flourish. Here, some of the most critical issues in regard to education policy, and where the Democratic and Republican candidates stand on each.

Education and COVID-19

Trump and DeVos: Trump threatened to defund schools that do not open despite COVID-19 concerns—a threat that DeVos supported—in a move that has been called “dangerous” and is at odds with CDC recommendations. Experts said he has no legal authority to withhold the funds. DeVos, meanwhile, is using the $2 trillion coronavirus stabilization law to funnel money designed for public school to private and religious schools, and was accused of “exploiting Congressional relief efforts.”

Harris and Biden: As for Harris and Biden’s COVID-19 plan as it relates to schools, the plan is to allow the CDC to provide national-level guidance about the dangers of COVID-19 spread to young people; to utilize funds to account for shortfalls in budget that impact teachers; and to use a “dial” analogy to make critical decisions about when to close or open schools and how to re-open them safely based on