The 2016 election has no shortage of issues to get candidates and voters alike excited. While every candidate has their own view on education and what our nation should do to prepare the next generation for entry into the working world, tech education specifically has become a quiet but ever-present factor in this election. So just how is technology influencing the educational platforms of the 2016 hopefuls?
A Bipartisan Issue
Tech education, specifically, is unique in this election because it cannot be divided along simple Republican or Democrat lines. Current President Barack Obama frequently addressed strengthening STEM education in his own campaigns, and made it a quiet but crucial part of his administration while in the White House.
Governor Jeb Bush, despite being in a situation where he necessarily must depose most matters supported by the opposing party in order to win Republican support, has also taken a firm stance on increasing STEM programs to encourage more graduates and maintain American growth and innovation in the science and tech fields. Both O’Malley and Fiorina addressed tech directly in speeches they have made campaigning.
Why It Matters
Here is the reason technological education is going to be a big deal – it’s a necessity and a blanket. Why it’s a necessity should be fairly self-evident, but using it as a cover-all focus for the issue of education is where things really start to get interesting.
Technological education is something that spreads from kindergarten up through college. It’s something every kid needs and it’s something many are getting, but it often comes in inconsistent packages. Look at any of the big candidate and you’ll notice that while they have volumes to say on the matter of college education and affordability, most of them are mute when it comes to K-12.
Tech is a clever way to circumvent this lack of stace. While opinions are split on whether young students should be learning to code, there is an overarching understanding that technology is playing a much greater part in our lives, and the consensus among teachers and parents alike is that education both about and with the use of technology is increasingly important in the grade school classroom. At the college level, science and tech programs are more and more being viewed as smart investments that lead to secure and profitable jobs.
By focusing on tech education, the 2016 candidates are aligning themselves with popular opinion without having to take a hardline stance on a notoriously polarizing subject. They can focus on what college costs rather than what colleges teach, and they can make it sound like they have the children’s best interest at heart without having to form potentially unpopular platforms, as was learned with No Child Left Behind.
So why is tech education a big deal this election season? Simply put, it’s because we think it’s a big deal. As long as technology matters in our daily lives, it’s going to matter to those that want to be seen as our leader.