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Election Day & Federal Education Policy
posted by: Alix | November 02, 2010, 03:33 PM   

K-12 education policy is usually not a deciding issue in national elections. Today's vote will be no different. The American people are frustrated with the down economy and are continually debating the size and scope of the government. Whatever your political leanings, today's elections are sure to have an impact on some upcoming federal education decisions regarding policy and spending.

"Education is rarely a deciding issue in elections, aside from specialized offices such as state and local school boards and superintendents. But this year, K-12 policy got more attention than usual because it was linked to the still-struggling economy," stated David Winston, the president of the Winston Group, a polling organization. In an uncertain economy, Americans are concerned about our future work force and whether or not our children will be properly prepared.

Spending is one issue that has been sharply debated with the deficit climbing and the Republicans poised to make major gains in the house. Republicans are advocating the return of spending to fiscal year 2008 levels, as well as advocating for local control in education spending and policy. Some are even calling for the abolishment of the Department of Education.

In the house, several key Democrats on the Education and Labor Committee are in tight races. The balance of this committee will have direct implications for a possible reauthorization or revision of the No Child Left Behind act. In the event of a Republican take-over, Rep. Kline will likely become Chairman of the panel. Congressman Kline has expressed some hesitation over certain Obama education goals, including expressing concern over continuing funding for Race to the Top.

Rep. Kline does however support Obama's focus on high-performing public charter schools, performance pay, and teacher evaluation.

Education is not only a federal issue, but a local one, where hundreds of schools boards are up for re-election around the country. Winston highlights the, "constant tension between people wanting education to be purely a local issue, versus this national concern about how we're doing vis-à-vis other countries."

Make sure you are informed of not only federal education policy implications but local ones as well.

What impact do you think the elections will have on education?
Comment below.

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