Well, I decided to go on a fact finding mission . . . what about education in America? Where do the presidential candidates stand on the topic of education? Now I do listen to a variety of talking heads (both the political pundits and the band). However, I have been asking myself what about the candidates and education. Easy subject to research, or so I thought. For my job, I do a ton of research for my lectures to ensure they are up to date with current events and trends, so going on a fact finding mission about education and the presidential candidates is not out of my realm. I searched my usual spots, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post; then after not finding a great deal of information, I casted a wider net thanks to Google. I’ll start off with an interesting quote from the Business Insider, “Education won’t get much more than lip service in an election that is mostly centered on the economy, but both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have very distinct visions for education reform,” (Hickey, October 9, 2012, para. 1).
As we have seen or heard or read or been bombarded with via commercials, the economy is the top, hot topic of the election. In my research I found a plethora of information about the economy, but not much banter or debate about education. Granted, without a sound economy, what will our children work for or towards? A sound economy will provide the much needed funds to support education. However, what does a sound education plan provide to our children as they prepare to compete for jobs on the world stage? That is what I am most interested in, what are either of these candidates going to do about education? What is their plan?
President Obama’s initiatives include the “Race to the Top” designed to increase standards to better prepare students for college and careers by recognizing districts for the development of innovative education programs and positive school reforms. His plan also seeks to target math and science education programs. Under his administrations, many components of No Child Left Behind have been repealed and as I stated in my last blog, 26 states have been granted waivers from the stringent parameters of NCLB. “Obama has approved waivers freeing states from the most onerous requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law with their agreement to improve how they prepare and evaluate students. “Race to the Top” competition has rewarded winning states with billions of dollars for pursuing education policies Obama supports,” (Woodward, September 10, 2012, para. 8).
Candidate Romney’s initiatives include “A Chance for Every Child,” emphasizing school choice for parents via an expanded voucher program as well as an increase in support for charter schools. “Mitt Romney recently unveiled his education plan — “A Chance for Every Child” — which emphasized school choice, accountability and ensuring that qualified teachers are in every class,” (CNN Politics, n.d. para. 1). He supports No Child Left Behind and the components of teacher accountability and school transparency in public education. He seeks to maintain high performing teachers through block grant incentive programs and eliminating unnecessary certification requirements placed upon new teachers. “Romney supported the federal accountability standards of No Child Left Behind law. He has said the student testing, charter-school incentives and teacher evaluation standards of Obama’s “Race to the Top” competition “make sense” although the federal government should have less control of education,” (Woodward, September 10, 2012, para. 9).
Who is the education presidential candidate? Well, the jury is still out in my opinion. However, my question is: Why when there are budget cuts education seems to be the first item to meet the ax? If we want successful students and productive citizens, does it not make sense to invest in them? As parents, as teachers, we invest as much as we can into our children’s education, can we not be met half way, at the very least, by lawmakers that control the purse strings?
I will only preach from my soap box on one subject, whomever you vote for, that is your decision, that is your right, JUST VOTE, that is the most important decision you can make. What I will ask, please, before you got into that voting booth, do your research and know the individual you are voting for and by the way, vote, it is your voice and the voice of our children when you are in that booth.
I am including the research that I came across for this blog entry. Many of the pieces that I discovered also provide comparisons to other issues in addition to education. Out of fairness to both candidates, I am also including their campaign websites as well.
Typically I always end with a quote. This time I am making an exception and ending with two quotes, one from each presidential candidate highlighting their stance on education.
“We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools. We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will, but not the money, can still get the best education possible.” ~ Barack Obama
“Even students from the most disadvantaged homes can achieve, something that’s been proven in highly innovative programs around the country. The key to successful schools is providing students with excellent teachers. We must recruit teachers from among our brightest students, pay them well, and provide them with excellent mentors. Accountability and school choice matter.” ~ Mitt Romney
CNN Politics. America’s Choice 2012 Election Center. (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://www.cnn.com/election/2012/campaign-issues.html#education
Hickey, W. “Obama and Romney Couldn’t Be Further Apart On Education Issues.” Business Insider. (October 9, 2012). Retrieved from: http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-romney-education-2012-10
Obama, B. Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.barackobama.com/education/
Romney, M. Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from: http://www.mittromney.com/issues/education
Woodward, C. “Obama and Romney: Where they stand on the issues.” Associated Press. (September 10, 2012). Retrieved from: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48975471/ns/politics/t/obama-romney-where-they-stand-issues/#.UHTX6i7A_lc