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Countdown to Election Day: The Education Impact
posted by: Ruthie | November 01, 2012, 08:14 PM   

Education has been a consistent theme in the 2012 presidential campaign. Although each candidate offers a different solution to improving America's education system, both President Obama and Governor Romney acknowledge that education reform is a critical part of their political platform. Regardless of the outcome next week, it is clear that the 2012 election will have a lasting impact on federal spending and K-12 education for years to come.

President Obama cites initiatives such as the competitive grant program, Race to the Top, as proof of his ability to reform education. Governor Romney maintains that Massachusetts' high-performing schools give him the edge with regard to education policy.

While both candidates agree there needs to be changes, perhaps the most debated topic is spending in education. President Obama argued that his opponent would support cuts in K-12 spending. During the final presidential debate, Obama contended, "Cutting our education budget, that's not a smart choice. That will not help us compete with China."

President Obama continued to criticize vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's budget, which would drastically reduce domestic discretionary spending. However, Governor Romney argued that he was not planning on cutting education "I don't have any plan to cut education funding and—and grants that go to people going to college. ... I'm not planning on making changes there."

In addition to the amount of funds allocated to education, the candidates differ on school choice policy. While both candidates support charter schools, Governor Romney goes a step further and argues in favor of turning $25 billion over to parents, allowing them to choose the best school for their child.

At the state level, several tight races and ballot initiatives could make lasting impacts. An initiative in California seeks to both increase state revenue for pubic schools, through raising taxes, and prohibiting unions from using payroll deductions for political purposes.

In Idaho, residents will consider whether to uphold or repeal State Superintendent Tom Luna's "Students Come First" laws, which institute teacher performance pay and require more technology in schools.

Voters in Washington state, one of the only nine states that prohibits charter schools, will decide whether to allow the authorization of public charter schools.

Finally, also on the state level, the 2012 election will decide eleven gubernatorial contests, four elections for state schools chiefs, and voting for ten state school boards, along with an advisory public education commission in New Mexico.

With the plethora of proposed policy changes, it is difficult to keep all of the issues straight. The Center for Education Reform provides several useful tools for measuring candidates' stance on education issues, including a field guide, the Parent Power Index, and a tool to see where your state's governor stands on education.

How do you think the election will affect education? What are you doing to educate yourself about education changes?
Comment below. 

Comments (1)Add Comment
Timeline, Please.
written by Tracie, Onalaska, November 01, 2012

While watching the debates and reading through the candidates' webpages, it is clear to me both men are using only talking points. Neither offers a real plan to tackle education in America. If they truly wanted to address it, there would be more details available. Neither look at WHY our country is doing so poorly (compared to other countries like us) or how to change society to 1)value education and 2)improve family situations (which affect education). Given all that, if I could speak to each candidate, I would ask them to give a timeline for their "plan." I'm required to write and achieve goals for my classroom each month and correlate it to our building goals. I have to have a measurable goal with a timeline. Then, I have to review the goal every month before writing a new one or updating the old one. I would pressure each candidate to do the same to keep educational reform on track. With what they have, they're just placating the American public and that's just not good enough.

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