Much like most aspects of American life, the education system is inherently political. Whilst from an Australian perspective it may not have seemed as though education was at the forefront of discussion in last year’s Presidential Election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the future of America’s highly decentralised system of schools has occupied the dialogue of many in Washington of late.
This stems primarily from the contentious Senate confirmation of President Trump’s Education Secretary Nominee, Betsy DeVos’ in mid-January which culminated in a historically close 51-50 vote to send her to the Department of Education. Secretary DeVos faced questions about both her understanding of educational policy issues and her qualifications for the role as a billionaire donor to political causes.
Since leaving her post as Secretary of State in early 2013, Hillary Clinton’s path to her current status as the runaway favourite for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination for the 2016 election has been remarkably smooth. She joined in the work of her husband’s foundation, got in on the paid speechmaking circuit and published a well-received book, encapsulating her experiences as the United States’ chief diplomat. With speculation about a looming candidacy, Clinton has repeatedly demurred such discussions, stating that she will decide at a later date. As elaborated by many political commentators, the infrastructure awaiting a Clinton candidacy can only be described as formidable for any potential competitor.