The Globalization of Higher Education conference recently featured two of the top contenders for the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jeb Bush, opposing Democrat and Republican respectively, both agreed that higher education has the power to transform lives and be an influence for democracy across the globe.
Both Clinton and Bush spoke separately at the conference and spoke together briefly off-stage afterwards. Jeb Bush co-organized the event and offered a bipartisan curve for the nation’s two dominant political families. Clinton and Bush each focused on education policy and the need to make higher education more accessible and affordable across the globe.
Clinton wants people around the world to see the American model of education because it illustrates that the US believes in spreading opportunity to more people, in more places, so that they too can have the chance to live up to their potential as a student. She fears that the high costs of education are closing doors here in our own country so that the great model we once had is straying from its focus and becoming less accessible.
At a past speech at the Clinton Global Initiative University in Arizona, Hillary Clinton noted that 6 million young people age 16 to 24 are neither employed nor in school. She cited the need for a higher education system that would promote those pursuing college degrees and vocational training alike. She believes there are many jobs to be done that do not require a college degree but instead require a respect for the dignity of the work that’s being done.
Bush stated that higher education has a growing affordability problem while billions in developing world struggle with accessibility. He would like to see access expanded through technology that can bring down the cost of delivery both at home and for those abroad. Bush would like to see US post secondary education exported so that consumers on a global scale can disburse it. He believes this will solve the issues with affordability and availability.
Bush has been an avid and vocal supporter of the politically acrimonious Common Core standards. These standards as most now know specify what math and reading skills students should achieve in each grade. Bush has previously overhauled his state of Florida and reconstructed the education system, tying teacher raises to student performance and seeking to boost educational standards.
From this early start it’s clear that education will remain an important topic up for debate as the upcoming presidential election speeds towards us. It’s becoming more crucial to reach an agreement between differing political parties and standards so that students across the globe can benefit from higher education. Clinton and Bush offer a sense of mature agreement through setting aside other differences and speaking with some agreement about our education system.