Clinton and Trump on STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – education

Science and technology careers were not discussed at the presidential candidates' first debate, but went to the candidates for answers.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump. Source: Gage Skidmore. 

Science, and in particular STEM career opportunities, the type of education that might lead to a career in healthcare information technoligy, for instance, did not come up in the first debate between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Sept. 26.

However, in advance of the debate,, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, backed by science organizations, business representatives and Nobel Laureates, posed this question to both candidates:

“How will you work to ensure all students, including women and minorities, get an adequate STEM education and are prepared to address 21st-century challenges?”

The answers:

Clinton: "Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science by the time they graduate high school. I support the Obama administration's 'Computer Science for All' initiative. And I will take steps to increase investment and scale instruction and lesson programs that help improve student achievement or increase college enrollment and completion in computer science fields. ... At the same time, we need to expand the pool of computer science teachers so that we train an additional 50,000 CS teachers in the next decade.

"Strong STEM programming in every public school is critical to our nation's success and to reducing economic and social inequality. But today, less than 40 percent of high school graduates have taken a physics course, and the lack of STEM programming is even more pronounced in schools with high concentrations of students of color. We will support states, cities, and charters in developing innovative schools, like Denver's School of Science and Technology and the Science Leadership Academy of Philadelphia, which have demonstrated success at engaging underrepresented populations in science and technology."

Trump: "There are a host of STEM programs already in existence. What the federal government should do is to make sure that educational opportunities are available for everyone. This means we must allow market influences to bring better, higher quality educational circumstances to more children.  Our cities are a case study in what not to do in that we do not have choice options for those who need access to better educational situations.  Our top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to education is failing and is actually damaging educational outcomes for our children. ... The management of our public education institutions should be done at the state and local level, not at the Department of Education."  

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