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EDITORIAL: Republican candidates’ positions on higher education

The GOP candidates have been non-committal when it comes to their plans for higher education.

The GOP candidates have been non-committal when it comes to their plans for higher education.

Editorial staff

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The GOP primaries are in full swing and the four Republican candidates are scrambling for support. Perhaps most important to the university community is how each of these candidates plans to address education upon entering office.

While The State Hornet is not endorsing any candidates in the Republican primary, we do support and urge the campus community to become familiar with each candidate’s policy and positions prior to voting. In researching the candidates regarding higher education, the following has been uncovered:

Newt Gingrich is perhaps the most public about encouraging Americans to continue with higher education.

While the former House Speaker has not yet addressed how he plans to handle higher education, he stated in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show that Obama’s urge to Americans to further educate themselves, “strikes me as reasonable.”

“Everybody in America is going to have to get re-educated all the time because jobs are going to change, technology is going to change and if we’re going to compete in the world market, we both have to have the best equipment and the best training,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich also stated in the same interview, while a four-year degree from a university is not a feasible path for everyone, he would like to see unemployment benefits tie into job training.

His website, www.newt.org, does not address higher education directly in its menu of policy, but Gingrich has continued to claim publicly he supports all forms of higher education.

“Higher education should become dramatically more productive and less expensive,” according to Gingrich’s website.

Unfortunately, despite his efforts to publicly announce support for higher education, Gingrich has yet to discuss any plans to aid or support higher education financially or in policy changes.

While Gingrich has publicly stated his support of higher education as a priority for the American public, Rick Santorum has done quite the opposite.

During a primary campaign in Michigan, the senator said he begged to differ with the president’s encouragement of Americans to seek higher education. The senator went so far as to call Obama a “snob.”

“Not all folks are gifted in the same way,” Santorum told Michigan voters during his primary campaign in February. “Some people have incredible gifts with their hands … President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.”

While Santorum devotes a few portions of his website, www.ricksantorum.com, to the endorsement of parental involvement in children’s education, there isn’t much on his site about supporting higher education. Santorum remains firm education should remain a local priority and not a federal one.

“Today, there are still many parents without good educational options for their children. The problem is the solution is not a federal one, it is a state and principally local one. Parents and citizenry should hold schools accountable and have educational options for their children,” according to Santorum’s website.

Santorum does not address higher education or federal student loans in the policy menu of his website and has not gone on record with anything definitive about how he plans to address these issues.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has remained an educational wildcard in the public sector. The majority of the educational policy Romney has addressed during his primary campaign has been regarding elementary education and the right of a parent to choose Charter schools.

However, in the policy menu of his campaign website www.mittromney.com, higher education is briefly addressed.

“Part of an opportunity society is rewarding hard work and success. Mitt believes education is a key to the American dream, and students must be encouraged to pursue that dream and work hard to achieve it. Post-secondary education cannot become a luxury for the few; instead, all students should have the opportunity to attend a college that best suits their needs. Whether it is public or private, traditional or online, college must be available and affordable,” according to Romney’s website.

Educational cuts are a huge part of Texas congressman Ron Paul’s campaign to change the American deficit. In an October interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Paul stated if elected he plans to cut $1 trillion from the federal budget—eliminating the educational cabinet position.

While the cuts Paul suggests he would make when entering office do not seem to include the federal student loan program, he stated during the interview if elected he would prefer to eliminate the student federal loan program completely.

“Just think of all this willingness to want to help every student get a college education,” Paul said during the NBC interview. “I went to school when we had none of those. I could work my way through college and medical school because it wasn’t so expensive.”

The candidates have many issues and policies to address before the Nov. 6 election. The State Hornet urges the campus community to make informed decisions before voting. Choosing a candidate that best represents your political views is a responsibility and right of all american citizens. The Hornet strongly endorses the campus community’s right to its opinion and encourages voters to research candidates and policies prior to voting.

The Editorial Staff can be reached at [email protected]

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