By Chelsey Herrig
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Last night’s GOP presidential debate was centered squarely on the safety of America. It’s understandable that figuring out how to counter terrorism be a topic in this debate.
But it’s disappointing that not a single Republican candidate understands that providing the best possible education for our citizens is a key part of every effort to keep our country safe and thriving for generations to come.
With the recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, it was disappointing to watch the Republican candidates spend three hours fighting for the spotlight without one mention of how our nation is embarking upon a new era of education. The candidates did not even mention how the ISIS threat to our country is impacting our students and their education.
I was surprised when Donald Trump mentioned that he would invest more in schools and transportation, but he gave no details on where that money would go or how it would benefit students, nor did he suggest any connection between investing in students and strengthening our country and economy.
It was the only mention of America’s schools during the entire three hour debate (other than Chris Christie mentioning that students in New Jersey felt unsafe after receiving an e-mail threat).
What is discussed during a presidential debate—and what is ignored—matters.
America’s students are growing up saturated in media that would have them believe that living in fear of terrorists, and of being gunned down in your school is the norm. Public education should be acknowledged in the national conversation about strengthening our country, especially by a presidential candidate.
Our K-12 students deserve a President who will stand up for them, and so do America’s college students. So how are we going to make higher education more affordable and loan repayment more reasonable? How are we going to make sure that educator voices are heard in the process of making education policy?
Thus far, the Republican candidates have avoided talking about the issues that matter to us.