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Education Policy: Campaign-Trail Highlights


The 2012 presidential election is quickly approaching, and both President Seal of the president of the united statesBarack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney have peppered their campaigns with a variety of ideas and promises regarding K-12 education. EducationWorld has scoured multiple news outlets to bring you the following breakdown of each candidate’s educational platform.


Common Core State Standards

barack obamaThe President is a staunch supporter of the new academic standards and has said he would like to see all U.S. schools incorporate them into the curriculum. Currently, 47 states and the District of Columbia have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, the CCSS.

“For less than one percent of what our nation spends on education each year, we’ve convinced nearly every state in the country to raise their standards for teaching and learning—the first time that’s happened in a generation,” President Obama said of the Common Core.

mitt romneyThe former Massachusetts governor wants the federal government to stay out of the Common Core movement, preferring to allow states to decide for themselves. While he hasn’t come out specifically against the standards, he doesn’t want the federal government telling states to adopt them.

Speaking to Mike Huckabee on Fox, Romney made clear his stance on CCSS, saying, “By the way, not everything that Arne Duncan is doing do I agree with. So, for instance, this national core curriculum they are pushing and trying to get states to take that on. I don’t like a national curriculum. I like states to be able to draft their own curriculum.”

No Child Left Behind

An outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s landmark education law, President Obama has rendered it largely insignificant by creating provisions for state exemptions from the legislation’s criteria.

President Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan explained the move to the Washington Post, saying, “To label an improving school a failure is the worst thing you can do.”

Once a supporter of NCLB, Romney is now calling for significant reform to the law. He is focusing on greater transparency on the part of schools and empowering parents to play a larger role in their children’s education.

“Mitt’s reforms will provide better information for parents through straightforward public report cards and will empower them to hold districts and states responsible for results,” the Official Romney Campaign Web site reads. “When combined with increased parental choice, this will give parents more control over their children’s education.”

School Choice

The President has toed the line with respect to this issue. He’s supported charter schools to the extent of telling states they would be unlikely to win part of the $4 billion Race to the Top competition if they didn’t have charter laws or if they limited the number of charter schools that could open. His administration has also voiced opposition to the Republican-led choice law known as the SOAR Act.

“While the Administration appreciates that H.R. 471 would provide Federal support for improving public schools in the District of Columbia (D.C.), including expanding and improving high-quality D.C. public charter schools, the Administration opposes the creation or expansion of private school voucher programs that are authorized by this bill,” the administration said in an official statement.

Governor Romney’s feelings about school choice are clear; he has said he would do everything he could to allow families to send their children to the school they feel would be best. He’d do this by allowing families to use $25 billion in federal money to attend any school they choose, be it public, charter, online or private.

“I will expand parental choice in an unprecedented way,” Romney said.


Article by Jason Tomaszewski, EducationWorld Associate Editor
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