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Who Is Donald Trump Listening to on Domestic Policy?


Remember when we said that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had no K-12 advisers that we could find? Well, it would seem that, someone does have his ear on higher education and other domestic policy issues: Sam Clovis, a professor of economics at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, and conservative radio talk show host. (Hat tip: Inside Higher Education and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.) Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for electionslug_2016_126x126.jpg

Clovis, who is Trump's national co-chairman, is also a fan of civics education, and has started a lecture series called "serious civics", according to this profile in the Omaha World Herald.  And he has also founded a non-profit, Serious Civics, which this campaign profile calls a "non-profit focused on raising civic awareness and enhancing education reform." (The organization's website is still largely under construction, so it's hard to get a sense of its scope and accomplishments.)

Clovis, who ran for Iowa State Treasurer and the U.S. Senate in 2014, is a fan of charter schools, and funds following children to the school of their choice, according to this political issues site. And like Trump, he is not enamored of the Common Core State Standards.

Inside Higher Education did a great interview with Clovis where they were able to garner some interesting policy tidbits, on both K-12 and higher education. For instance, he's in favor of having student loans originate with banks, not the federal government. 

And he wants colleges to have some "skin in the game" when it comes to student loans, an idea known as "risk-sharing." Other Republicans have expressed support for this proposal. But some worry it could deter colleges from accepting low-income students, whose families may not be able to help them if they default on a student loan.

It also sounds like a potential Trump administration might consider shifting the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights—which has been incredibly active during the Obama years—to the Department of Justice. And Clovis (as well as Trump) is interested in taking a look at whether there needs to be a federal department of education at all. 

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