In what some are calling a preview of the 2016 election season, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush both spoke on the same stage at the Globalization of Higher Education conference in Irving, Texas. While they did not actually share the stage, sources say that they did speak briefly and cordially backstage. Though they come from vastly different political arenas, both discussed the need for more affordable higher education around the world and stressed the benefits for the U.S. economy if the country can lead the world in college degrees.
It was the third time the two politically big names crossed paths this year alone. No matter what they think behind the scenes, they seem to turn on the charm for the cameras -- often complimenting each other and pointing out their similarities. Perhaps the connection is genuine. Between the Bush and Clinton families, three Presidents have been produced since the 1988 election cycle, serving a total of 20 years in office. Both have often served in the shadows of their higher-profile family members and perhaps both feel that they have something to prove.
Education wise -- their areas of focus do differ. Jeb Bush is an especially strong advocate for school choice options, including vouchers for religious schools. Hillary Clinton tends to support equity issues in teaching, particularly at public schools, and the involvement of schools in social services and life skills development. (You may recall her now famous It Takes a Village book from 1996)
These education issues will certainly be brought up during the election season, if both are indeed ever candidates at the same time, but for now it seems some political harmony exists.
Follow Matthew Lynch, Ed.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lynch39083