Donald Trump on Education: We Will End Common Core

Donald Trump doesn’t say much about education policy. I’ve only personally heard him discuss Common Core in a dig against Jeb Bush, something he’ll also be able to direct Hillary Clinton’s way.

His issues page only includes the video below sharing Trump’s message about education.


I am tremendous believer in education, but education has to be at a local level. We can not have the bureaucrats in Washington telling you how to manage your child’s education. So Common Core is a total disaster, we can’t let it continue. We are rated 28 in the world, the United States, think of it – 28 in the world, and frankly we spend far more per pupil than any other country in the world by far it’s not even a close second.

So here we are, we spend more money and we are rated 28. Third world countries are ahead of us. We are going to end Common Core. We are going to have education, an absolute priority.

Trump has good instincts on Common Core, and saying education needs to be at a local level is a good thing. Those are good instincts. The primary problem I have with Donald Trump when it comes to education policy is the lack of specificity. Why does he believe Common Core is bad? Why does he believe education needs to be at the local level. I want to know he understands the issue and isn’t just spouting off talking points.

How will he end Common Core when states have adopted these? Does this mean he’ll end the carrot and stick approach to federal education funding? Will he work to repeal the Every Student Succeeds Act? Will he work to end the U.S. Department of Education?

He then says education is an absolute priority. How so if education is supposed to be at the local level. I would love to hear presidential candidates say education is not and should not be a federal priority. The reason for this is that it is not a constitutional priority. If I saw education listed as one of the enumerated powers of Congress in Article I of the Constitution I’d feel differently, but its not.

Does Donald Trump understand this?

Also, and at the risk of sounding nit picky, while the U.S. spends a lot per pupil for K-12 education, it does not spend the most. It is actually in 5th place. Switzerland, Norway, Austria and Luxembourg spends moreĀ per studentĀ according toĀ the last OECD report. The U.S. spends the most when you factor in postsecondary education, but not when you just consider elementary and secondary education.

In terms of education policy at the federal level Trump has a leg-up on Clinton. He would be wise to flesh his position out more.