While leading Democratic presidential
candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have similar education policy goals—like increasing accountability for charter schools, making college more affordable and expanding support for disadvantaged students—they differ on how to reach those goals. Biden would increase charter school transparency by making them accountable to the same school boards as traditional public schools, while Sanders calls for a national audit of the impact of charter school growth in each state.
To make college more affordable, Biden agreed to adopt a Sanders plan making college tuition free for families making less than $125,000 a year. He would also double the maximum value of Pell Grants. Sanders' plan would make all undergraduate public colleges and universities tuition-free, cancel all higher education student loan debt, and expand Pell Grants to include non-tuition costs.
While both candidates would triple Title I funding for disadvantaged students, they have different ideas on how to use the new dollars. Biden would dedicate the funding for raising teacher salaries, ending funding disparities among schools and districts, ensuring access to pre-K, and providing schools with resources to create rigorous coursework. Sanders calls for support for all disadvantaged students, specifically students with disabilities. Our side-by-side comparison shows the candidates’ varied approaches on these and other key education policy issues.
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