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The nation’s public education system is seeing dramatic gains: the graduation rate reached an all-time high in 2015 and the drop-out rate fell. Compared to 2008, over 1 million more black and Latino students are enrolling in college and college completion is now at record levels. Still, 48 states are spending less on higher education than they did in 2008 and 31 states spend less per pupil on K-12 public education than they were in 2008. Consequently, persistent achievement gaps remain between white and minority students and affluent and low-income students.
The GOP presidential hopefuls are pushing for dramatic cuts to federal education funding targeted for at-risk students and making college more affordable. For instance, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have called for the elimination of the Department of Education — which means 8 million college students could lose their Pell grants and thousands more could be denied federal civil rights protections.
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