More On Parenting And The 2016 Presidential Election:
Yes, you’d rather swim through an ocean of toddler diapers and run a barefoot marathon over discarded LEGO bricks than hear anything else from this clusterf–k of a presidential campaign year. But, the fact that Americans have heard more about the size of Donald Trump’s hands than about parental leave, or Hillary Clinton’s email server than rising child care costs, is surreal.
Trump and Clinton (and to a lesser extent Libertarian Gary Johnson or Green Party nominee Jill Stein) haven’t touched much — or at all — on K-12 education, the unique challenges of special education, the rising costs of college tuition, and burdensome student loans. But, you definitely know where they stand on calling each other idiots.
Since you’ll be thinking about how this race is going to affect the next 4 years of your kids’ lives when you head to the polls in November, here is the platform info you need to make an informed decision.
Paid Family Leave
Clinton: She would guarantee 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or seriously ill family member. The 12-week paid guarantee also applies if you need it to recover from a serious illness or injury. Her plan to fund it: Raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. (If you don’t own multiple helicopters, she’s probably not talking about you.)
Trump: In a recent speech in suburban Philadelphia, Trump called for 6 weeks of mandatory paid maternity leave to working mothers. He also said that Hillary Clinton doesn’t have a plan and, “never will.” (See above.) Right now his aides say his plan to fund it is by changing tax codes.
Johnson: Being the Libertarian he is, Johnson is against forcing business owners to pay for specific employee incentives, including paid family leave/monthly pizza parties.
Stein: Advocates a 12-week paid family leave plan, paid for by the federal government.
Clinton: Child care reform plan includes incentives and subsidies that cap costs at 10 percent of a family’s income, increases pay for child care providers, and strengthen an existing “home visiting” program designed to help low-income children at risk for emotional, intellectual or physical harm.
Trump: Trump recently laid out his tax incentive plan that would allow families to “fully deduct the average cost of childcare spending from their taxes.” His own employees are probably also excited to hear that the Donald supports at-work daycare centers. “It’s not expensive for a company to do it,” said Trump. “You need one person or 2 people, and you need some blocks and you need some swings and some toys. You know, surely, it’s not expensive. It’s not an expensive thing.”
Johnson: Has not publicly presented a specific child care policy. As governor of New Mexico, he favored vouchers for church-owned child care centers and schools.
Stein: Has called for universal child care, similar to the Universal Child Care Benefit available for families in Canada. No word yet on her policy on unicorns.
Clinton: She would issue $275 billion in bonds to pay for things like new computers and upgraded science labs. And, as it says on her campaign website, she wanted to get rid of “rodents and mold” in schools around the country (another candidate in the pocket of Big Pest Control). She also has pledged to work for higher teacher salaries and better teacher training. She supports Common Core academic standards and is a long-time believer in charter schools as supplemental to — not a replacement for — public schools.
Trump: He wants to reduce the influence of the Department of Education and eliminate the use of Common Core standards. His running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, was the first state-level executive to reject Common Core. The Republicans also favor more school choice, more taxpayer-funded vouchers for kids to attend private schools, and more Bible classes in public high schools. Trump would remove “gun-free zone” designation from schools and has endorsed the idea of arming teachers in the classroom. Worst show-and-tell day, ever.
Johnson: Wants to eliminate the Department of Education, along with a lot of other federal agencies — like, most of them.
Stein: Wants to do away with “high-stakes testing” and the privatization of public schools. Hopefully also wants to do away with parent-teacher conferences, too.
College Tuition & Student Loans
Clinton: Moved toward the political left when she announced a version of Bernie Sanders’ plan for universal college tuition (free college for families that make less than $125,000 annually). She would allocate $115 billion for student loan refinancing, which would provide relief in the form of debt forgiveness or lower interest rates for 25 million borrowers. (Check to see if your name is on the list.)
Trump: The founder of Trump University wants the federal government to hand over student loan implementation to the banks. He has acknowledged that student debt is a “big problem,” but failed to acknowledge the irony. He also mentioned restructuring and refinancing earlier in the summer, but has not offered specifics.
Johnson: Believes federally guaranteed student loans contribute to spiraling college costs. Like Trump, he would eliminate federal student loans in favor of bank loans.
Stein: Promises to forgive all student loan debt and to make college tuition free for all Americans — possibly while riding a unicorn.
Special Needs Education
Clinton: Announced a comprehensive plan in January to help kids and others living with autism. The plan rejects extreme punishments and mechanical or chemical restraints for school children with autism. It also calls for stronger local and federal enforcement of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act in order to prevent bullying of kids with autism.
Trump: His promise to diminish the Department of Education could hamper that agency’s ability to enforce the Individuals With Disabilities In Education Act. He has not provided specifics about a plan for special education. Although he did provide specifics about what he thinks reporters with disabilities sound like.
Johnson: Promises to eliminate the Department of Education do not include a plan for future enforcement of the Individuals With Disabilities In Education Act.
Stein: Believes cost-free education from pre-K through college is a right. The retired physician has not outlined specifics of a plan for special needs education.
This article has been updated to reflect Mr. Trump’s speech in Aston, PA on September 14.