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Clinton or Trump
Who’s better for students?
Nyasia Laverne Harris

I am about to turn 18, and I look forward to voting in my first election. I liked Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary because he supported free tuition for in-state colleges. Education is especially important to me. Now that he’s out and Hillary Clinton is running against Donald Trump, I researched what both of them plan to do to about this issue.

Donald Trump’s website,, doesn’t even have a section on education. The New York Times reports that Mr. Trump has said little about his education plans other than that he is against Common Core and that “education has to be at a local level.” Whatever that means.

Hillary Clinton’s website,, covers a lot more topics. She worked with Sanders on a proposal to offer families with incomes up to $125,000 free tuition to in-state colleges. Also on her site: Make community college tuition free, provide every student in America the opportunity to learn computer science, and rebuild America’s schools. She plans to make poor schools cleaner and safer, and equip them with more advanced technology. I agree that we need better conditions in public schools.

How the Party Platforms Differ

Then I looked up the platform of both parties. A platform is a document that a lot of people write together to represent the party as a whole, not just the candidate. Trump in particular has views that differ from other Republicans’. Bernie Sanders’s strong run in the primary meant that some of his policies got into the Democratic platform, even those Hillary Clinton might not share.

The Republican platform supports an emphasis on teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). I think this is a great idea. More STEM expertise could encourage graduates to pursue careers in those fields. This can benefit the country by making it more likely that we’ll find cures for diseases or invent helpful new technologies.

image by YC-Art Dept

But Republicans could make college more expensive, because they support private loans to pay for college, as opposed to federal loans. Private loans can cost more because the interest rate varies over time. Plus you have to start paying them back immediately. Federal student loans offer a fairly low interest rate throughout the life of the loan, and many of them don’t start charging interest until after you’ve graduated.

I don’t think federal college loans should have interest attached to them at all. On Clinton’s site it says: “To reduce the burden for future borrowers, Hillary will significantly cut interest rates so the government never profits from college student loans.”

I Prefer Democrats’ Positions

The Democratic platform includes increasing public school funding and continuing to use the Common Core curriculum. Democrats also want to reduce class size, modernize facilities, and hire new teachers.

I agree with these ideas, especially reducing class size. My high school has almost 5,000 students, and my creative writing class had more than 50 students. We would often have to pull desks in from other classes. With so many people, there was often someone late or absent, which made group work

However, I disagree with the Democrats’ support of Common Core. My experience of Common Core was that teachers taught at a faster pace, and many students couldn’t keep up. I could keep up, but many students couldn’t. Getting everyone ready for the tests meant there wasn’t time to ask questions. I think that money is better spent on improving school conditions and building enough schools for normal-sized classes.

Neither party’s platform is perfect, but I prefer the Democrats’ education policies. Public schools need more resources, like smaller classes and computers. And lower-income people need to be able to afford to go to college, so they can eventually enter the middle class.

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