Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is being pressured to take a stance on education reform. Her progressive base, including teachers' unions, wants her to oppose initiatives that threaten teachers' job security. Clinton's liberal-leaning Wall Street donors tend to favor a range of educational reforms, including charter schools and standards that teachers by and large oppose, The New York Times
Clinton has been a champion of educational reform since the early 1980s. Issues like Common Core
, Race to the Top
, and teacher evaluations over tenure did not really figure when Clinton last sought the nomination in 2008.
Republicans are also divided
over how to improve the education system. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Education Secretary William Bennett are strong backers of Common Core.
"This is an issue that's important to a lot of Democratic donors," said John Petry, a hedge fund manager involved in supporting charter schools. "Donors want to hear where she stands," he told the Times.
"She believes we need to have some kind of ways that we can measure student progress," said Ann O'Leary, who has worked closely with Clinton on educational issues. She was "also sympathetic that the test regime has become very burdensome in driving the education system in ways that many people think is problematic," O'Leary told the Times.
Clinton has long been close to American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. The union endorsed Clinton over then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2007. The union chief has argued that many reform policies do not work in practice. Clinton "will give everyone a fair hearing" and make a decision on the basis of "what's good for kids. Period," Weingarten told the Times. "Anybody who thinks otherwise just doesn't know her."
O'Leary said that both teachers and reformers will feel comfortable with how Clinton approaches educational reform. The Obama administration has had a contentious relationship with teachers' unions.
Besides educational policy, Clinton will also have to choose sides between the party's progressive base and its more centrist elements on such issues as international trade, Wall Street regulation, and tax policy, the Times reported.
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