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Do the Candidates Get High Marks for Education?

So, where do the candidates stand on the educational issues and reform of today? Let’s take a look.

K-12 Platform
Mitt Romney’s education platform has many more components related to younger students and preparing them with quality education. His priorities include:

  • More flexibility for families with disabled children. Believes they should use their federal assistance to attend a school of their choice.
  • Changing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) by eliminating tutoring and college preparation and adding the requirement for schools to report test scores on state and national tests.
  • Reducing the role of the federal government in local education.

"Schools should be run at the local and state level and we don't look to the federal government to run our schools or to set the curriculum."

  • Minimizing the Department of Education (USDE)  spending.

Barack Obama’s education platform is diverse and is building on the changes he has already initiated from the executive office he holds. These include:

  • Advocates full funding for the IDEA Act, supporting needs of disabled children in education.
  • Reforming NCLB to focus on low-performing schools and college/career preparation.
  • Proposes an increase in the USDE budget, with an emphasis in federal regulations for education

"We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools."

Higher Education Platform
Mitt Romney would enact the following initiatives, if elected:
Increase the role of the private sector for investing in loans for students, thus reducing the federal loan capacity.

  • Reduce school tuition through these privatized loans by creating supply and demand opportunities that will drive the costs down through competition.
  • Award degrees based on competency, rather than credit hours.

Barack Obama’s platform contains more elements for higher education. These include:

  • Focusing on accessibility for all students to get a high quality education
  • Supporting the DREAM Act, allowing undocumented youth citizenship and rights to serve in the military through education.
  • Centralizing the federal loans so they originate from the government, creating a nationalized rate and standard.
  • Increasing Pell Grants to encourage more low- and middle- class families to send children to college or training.

Teachers Platform
The two candidates could not be any further apart on their position regarding teachers’ unions.

Romney believes unions are an obstruction to education and more emphasis should be paid to rewarding deserving teachers, although he has not defined that term with any criteria or measurements.

Obama has stated that he will continue to work cooperatively with teachers’ unions. His reform of teacher evaluations would include a way to measure performance based on standardized test scores, in addition to other criteria.

Arnett, A & Fantus, C. (2012, September 27) Where they stand. Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, 29 (17), 8-9. 

Dervarics, C. (2012, September 27). Education nation. Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, 29(17), 12-13. 

Books to read from your library
Conrad, J. (2012). What you should know about politics-- but don't : A nonpartisan guide to the issues that matter.

Hayward, S.F. (2012). The politically incorrect guide to the presidents : From Wilson to Obama.

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