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Hillary Clinton on education: CNN’s Reality Check vets the claims

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Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton has talked frequently about how she would address education during her campaign. CNN’s Reality Check Team put her statements and assertions to the test.

The team of reporters, researchers and editors across CNN listened throughout the speech and selected key statements, rating them true; mostly true; true, but misleading; false; or it’s complicated.
Reality Check: Clinton on Affordable College
    August 11, 2016
    By Amy Gallagher, CNN
    In her speech on the economy, Clinton spoke to a deep concern for many working parents – how they’ll afford college for their kids.
    “It’s crucial that every American has access to the education and skills they need to get the jobs of the future. So we will fight to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for everyone.”
    Some context here: Clinton’s final plan is the direct result of the push and pull between her and Senator Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary. Sanders touted his plan for “tuition-free college for all” – defining this as free tuition at public universities in a student’s home state. Clinton at first countered that she would make community college tuition-free. When it was clear that Clinton was losing younger voters to Sanders, she shifted her position and offered a new proposal for free tuition at public colleges, but she was clear “I don’t want to make college free for Donald Trump’s kids.”
    According to her campaign website, her proposed plan does not cover families with household incomes over $125,000 a year. That means her plan does cover about 80% of American families. What constitutes “middle class” is debatable, but if you accept her definition of the middle class, the math checks out, so we rate the tuition portion of her claim: TRUE.
    But what about “debt-free for everyone”? Her tuition plan would not cover room and board, fees, books or supplies and these are often a significant portion of the cost of college. Even families that can afford tuition may still have to take out loans to cover all the other costs of college, so we rate this portion of her claim FALSE.
    Reality Check: Clinton on North Carolina teachers and blame
    June 22, 2016
    By Eve Bower, CNN
    Speaking in Raleigh Wednesday about both economic conditions and the quality of public education in the state of North Carolina, Clinton blamed the state’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, and Republican-majority legislature for low teacher salaries.
    “For many years,” Clinton said, “North Carolina was a leading state when it came to education. Now, unfortunately, thanks to your governor and the legislature, the average teacher salary can barely support a family.”
    Clinton’s claim about current teacher salaries, on average, appears true. Using numbers from the last Census, the average North Carolina household has 2.48 people. For the purpose of this analysis, we will use the Living Wage Calculator developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, and explore how two different possible family structures would fare on a public school teacher’s salary.
    First, assuming a family consists of one adult and two children, using the Living Wage Calculator, this household in North Carolina requires $54,197 in annual pre-tax income in order to cover basic expenses including things like food, housing, and medical care.
    If we instead assume that a family consists of two adults — only one of whom earns an income, and one who is responsible for child care — this household in North Carolina requires $43,033 in annual pre-tax income to cover basic expenses.
    The major difference between the two consists of the average $9,611 per year a single parent spends on child care for two children. But neither amount affords teacher-headed families a luxurious life: according to the National Education Association’s latest data, in the 2015-16 school year, the average salary for classroom teachers in North Carolina was just $47,985 — more than $6,200 less than what is required for a “living wage” for the first family, and just a few thousand dollars more than what is required by the second.
    But Clinton’s claim is misleading where it places the blame for this solely on the Republicans currently in North Carolina state government. A recent report from the National Education Association found North Carolina third among states with the largest real decline in average teacher salaries over the decade from 2004-2015, with an inflation-adjusted decrease in salary of 10.2%. McCrory may be partially responsible for this, as he was elected in 2012, but he has only had influence over teacher salaries since 2013. McCrory was preceded by almost 20 years of Democratic governors, during which time the Senate was controlled by Democrats the entire time, and Democrats controlled the state House from 1999-2010.
    Clinton was correct that public school teachers, on average, have a difficult time making ends meet today in North Carolina. We rate that portion of her claim true. But by placing the blame for this exclusively on the state’s current Republican leadership, when the trends have existed through several Democratic administrations, we must rate the second portion of her claim as FALSE.
    Reality Check: Clinton on states disinvesting from higher education
    December 19, 2015
    By Tami Luhby, CNNMoney
    State finances were crushed in the wake of the Great Recession, which began in late 2007. States were forced to enact steep funding cuts, since they are required to balance their budgets annually.
    On Saturday, Clinton said “states have been disinvesting in higher education.” She’s right: The ax fell heavily on higher education budgets, forcing public colleges in many states to hike tuition and fees.
    Some 47 states spent less per student in the 2014-15 school year than they did in 2008, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank. Only Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming spent more.
    States are spending 20% less per student than they did in the 2007-08 school year, on average, according to the center. In Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, spending per student is down by more than 35%.
    As a result, tuition at public colleges has soared. Tuition at four-year state colleges has risen by $2,000, or 29% percent, since the 2007-08 school year. In Arizona, tuition spiked more than 80%, while in California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii and Louisiana, tuition is up more than 60%.
    Most states have started spending more on higher education. The trend reversed in 2013, according to a report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers.
    Some 35 states have increased higher ed budgets for fiscal year 2016, which started in July in most states, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers. Some 12 states have cut funding for colleges.
    So while most states have a ways to go before they get back to pre-recession funding levels, the trend is for more spending on colleges.
    Verdict: TRUE, BUT MISLEADING

    Originally found athttp://edition.cnn.com/