As seen by Obama and McCain education is seen as a secondary issue. Both have steered clear of talking in detail about No Child Left Behind, President Bush’s education reform law of 2002. This law has pumped billions of dollars into education and helped raise basic skills of teachers but is credited with narrowing schools’ curricula much to the chagrin of voters. Neither candidate risks angering voters by talking about this unpopular law.
The candidates differ on key education issues:
Obama, in a key speech in Ohio in September, talked of “recruiting, retaining, and rewarding an army of new teachers”. He would help schools hire about 30,000 new teachers a year, mostly in hard to staff schools, in demanding subjects such as math, science and special education.
McCain in a speech at the Republican National Convention said , “Let’s remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work.” He proposes that 60% of federal Title II teacher funding be used for incentive bonuses for high-performing teachers in areas such as math and science, 35% would go for training to enhance the ability of teachers to perform in today’s technology driven environment.
Obama wants $18 billion in new money, including $10 billion for early childhood education. McCain says schools do not need more than the $59 billion in discretionary funding they now receive. They have different visions of what drives schools to improve. Obama would improve teacher quality. McCain cites competition from taxpayer supported private schools along with publicly funded charter schools.
Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
Kenneth Briggs, Bradenton Florida school system
Candidates online education plans, speeches