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2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (January 13, 2016): Keeping tabs on higher education debates

2016 MILLENNIAL MEMO (1/13/2016)

And we’re back! With less than three weeks until the first contest of the year, the campaigns and yours truly is pushing full steam ahead. Thanks for reading Millennial Memo. I know many of you have new colleagues onboard since this feature kicked off in May of last year. Please encourage them to sign up for updates here.

I’m also excited to announce a new Millennial Memo partnership with Tufts University’s CIRCLE (the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) to provide you with need-to-know historical data looking at young adult voting patterns. Since we are less than three weeks away from Iowa, let’s start there.

MILLENNIAL MATH IN THE HAWKEYE STATE: How many youth would a presidential campaign need to mobilize to show strength in the Iowa Caucus? Youth turnout in Iowa caucuses hasn’t differed that much over time. In one-party caucus years, it’s usually an estimated 3-4% of 18-29 year olds (CIRCLE’s rough estimates using vote tallies, exit poll and population data), which is an estimated 12,000-20,000 youth who participated). In 2008, when both parties had competitive caucuses, we estimate that over 50,000 youth participated in the Democratic caucuses and roughly 13,000 youth participated in the Republican caucuses in Iowa – an overall youth turnout in both caucuses estimated to be 13 percent. 2008, of course, was the year when the Obama campaign invested in youth participation in the campaign’s build-up to the caucus (and the peer to peer influence that it likely involved/followed). It is widely believed to have positioned then-Senator Obama well for the subsequent primaries.  However Rep. Paul did something similar in 2012 (when he got 48% of young Republican voters), without similar consequences. Iowa has seen some recent growth in its 18-29 population (up to 446,000 citizens ages 18-29), so there’s more opportunity for candidates to do outreach, including to the large proportion of Latinos in Iowa who are young.

CLINTON CAMP DISPATCHES CHELSEA TO NH TO NEEDLE SANDERS ON COLLEGE PROPOSAL PAY-FOR: “Speaking in Manchester, Chelsea Clinton touted her mother’s plan to enable students to attend public colleges and universities, without taking on loans for tuition, by covering the $350 billion cost over a decade by closing tax loopholes. Sanders’ has offered a proposal to provide free tuition at public universities. ‘She also, unlike Sen. Sanders, has articulated how she’s going to pay for the proposal,’ Chelsea Clinton said. ‘Currently, there’s a $19 billion gap between what Sen. Sanders has proposed and how he’s articulated paying for his proposals. That to me, is troubling.’ ‘I really believe that what my mom has articulated in terms of expanding access to affordable college is the right answer,’ she said.” (Associated Press, January 12, 2016)

RUBIO DEFENDS SUPPORT FOR IN-STATE TUITION FOR UNDOCUMENTED FLORIDA STUDENTS: Appearing on ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos asked Rubio whether he stands by “legislation to provide in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants” that he co-sponsored while serving in the Florida Legislature. Rubio responded: “On the bill you talked about, it was a very narrowly drafted bill. You had to have a certain GPA, you had to live in the U.S. a long time, you had to graduate from a Florida high school. It was very narrowly tailored to high-performing students who found themselves in a situation where they were brought here by their parents when they were 5, didn’t even speak another language except English and therefore couldn’t attend college because they were being charged like they were from out of state. They still had to pay for college but they paid for what people paid when they lived in Florida… They had to be high school graduates of Florida. Yes, of a narrowly tailored bill like that, absolutely. In fact, the Florida legislature came back years later, after I had left the legislature and passed it with a vast majorities of Republicans voting for it and a Republican governor signed it. That’s different — we didn’t legalize anybody. That’s the issue here.”

STUDENT DEBT & COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY CITED IN “ONE BIG IDEA” ANSWERS FROM CLINTON, RUBIO, O’MALLEY, SANDERS: Last week, the Boston Globe released a feature piece highlighting each of the top 15 presidential candidate’s one big idea that “would have a major impact on the country if he or she [were] elected.” Take a look at what the candidates had to say here.

RUBIO CASTS ASPERSIONS ON “INDOCTRINATION CAMP” LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES IN IOWA HIGHER ED REFORM PITCH: “Mr. Rubio… ticked through his three-point plan to allow students to use work experience for class credit (in his words, “competency-based learning”), let private investors pay for tuition and make colleges divulge which majors yield the best-paying jobs. He concluded with a dark assessment of liberal arts colleges as “indoctrination camps” protected by the political left “because all their friends work there.”” (The New York Times, 12/31/2015)

CLINTON’S PLAN TO COMBAT YOUTH POVERTY CENTERS ON RELATIONSHIP BUILDING AT THE COMMUNITY LEVEL: At a recent town hall in Portsmouth, NH, when asked about how she would help more young people escape poverty and have opportunity, Secretary Clinton said: “Underserved communities have had a resurgence of poverty… We have disconnected young people from a path to a productive life… And I think we have to figure out how we rebuild that… We need to get people into communities, because it’s literally a one-on-one project. What is that can be done for John or Mary or whomever?… We really have to figure out what works. People have tried a whole bunch of things. A lot of it doesn’t work. Throwing money at it doesn’t necessarily work. Building relationships is the work that has to be done. I don’t think the answer lies in Washington… We have to do this in communities. I want to provide support and resources, where possible, to give more people a chance to do that relationship building. We’re going to need more GED programs, we’re going to need more community college programs, we’re going to need more apprenticeship programs. We are going to need more pathways out [of poverty.]” (CSPAN, 12/29/2015)

BUSH CALLS FOR EXPANSION OF COMPETENCY-BASED EDUCATION: At the Kemp Forum this past weekend, Governor Bush said: “Imagine a system, because we have technologies to follow this, where you moved to a competency-based model where a child reaches their god given ability each and every year so they can do the work in half a year to get a year’s worth of knowledge. They can get an AA degree or an AS degree by graduating from high school. We are holding kids back, because we have a funding model that was based in the 1950s that was based on little butts in a seat… and that doesn’t have anything to do with learning. If you have a system where you reward improvement, where kids that struggle are not just pushed back, they have to master the material, and kids that excel can do it faster, you would deal with this learning gap that is one of the great challenges for kids stuck in poverty.”

WASHINGTON POST COVERS RESULTS OF BUSH PLAN TO END AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN FLORIDA: “Sixteen years later, One Florida has had mixed results for the state’s minorities. African Americans were about 18­ percent of the freshman class at all state universities and colleges before the program, roughly in line with their percentage of the overall population. Today, African Americans account for 21 percent of the state’s population, but just 13 percent of the state’s freshman collegiate class. Those classifying themselves as Hispanic accounted for 15 percent of the population in 2000. Now, after population growth and a change in census-counting metrics, they make up 28 percent of the state’s residents. The percentage of Hispanic college freshmen has rocketed from about 11 percent in 2000, at the time of One Florida, to 27 percent. The minority-business program tripled the percentage of state contracts to minorities during Bush’s first term, but since he left office, figures have receded to pre-Bush levels, reports show.” (The Washington Post, January 7, 2016)

MEASURING UP MILLENNIALS: A new CBS-New York Times poll out yesterday found Hillary Clinton leading her chief rival Bernie Sanders 48 percent to 41 percent. But the race “is revealing a sharp generational divide within the Democratic Party, with primary voters under 45 favoring Mr. Sanders by a roughly 2-to-1 ratio… The generational divide on the Democratic side was more pronounced than even the split among voters of differing political ideology. In addition to his strong support among younger voters, Mr. Sanders, who describes himself as a democratic socialist, is backed by 55 percent of liberals, compared with 40 percent who support Mrs. Clinton. Mrs. Clinton is boosted by older voters, who favor her by an even larger margin than younger voters favor Mr. Sanders. She fares better with moderates than Mr. Sanders does; 51 percent support her, while 33 percent back Mr. Sanders.” (The New York Times, 1/13/2016)


An emerging Republican education agenda at the Kemp Forum, American Enterprise Institute, Ian Lindquist