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January 9, 2012

GOP Candidate Countdown on Education

Cindy A. Rose

If you care about education then the next president of the United States should be…...... I have no idea. Maybe Alyson Klein, of Education Week, might shed some light on the Republican candidates.


“Mitt Romney … He’s championed standardized testing and supported the NCLB* law’s emphasis on accountability. But he’s also favored a more robust role for the states in K-12 policy.”


How can you support a “robust role” for states and support NCLB, which is systematically taking away local authority?


“Rick Santorum … has championed special education issues and autism research. He’s also said a top-down education system doesn’t serve parents well, and is known as staunch conservative on social issues, some of which – such as the teaching of evolution – have classroom implications.”


I was with him until he had a problem with teaching evolution. Not a total wash though.


“Ron Paul … has long said the federal government has no place in schools, and favors abolishing the U.S. Department of Education, and phasing out federal student loans.”


He “favors” it, but would he actually abolish it? If he wasn’t such a crazy man, I’d vote for him. I prefer that my candidate have both oars in the water, all the fries in his happy meal, not be a few shy of a dozen and not purchase his chapeaus from an aluminum smelting plant.


“Newt Gingrich … has teamed up with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Rev. Al Sharpton to call for rigorous school accountability, has said he’d like to shrink the U.S. Department of Education and expand school choice options.”


The Reverend Al? I believe Ms. Klein is referencing the “listening and learning” tour. This was not a wise teaming up on Newt’s part. Can anyone show me evidence of the good reverend ever having listened and learned? Arne Duncan’s appointment of Kevin Jennings to head the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools shot any chance of my having anything other than contempt for him. This was about as smart as sitting on a sofa with Nancy Pelosi. Next….


“Rick Perry …clashed with President Obama in a far-from-theoretical way on K-12 policy: His state was one of a handful to opt out of the Race to the Top competition.”


Now, if Governor Perry could only do well in a debate, I’d have a candidate. Sadly, I don’t think he’ll make it out of South Carolina. There’s also that matter involving the HPV vaccine that still doesn’t set well with me. Still, not a total wash.


“Jon Huntsman, who signed a bill requiring his state's accountability system to trump the NCLB law. With millions in Title I money at stake, the state backed down.”


I’ll bet. I also know he wants to reduce the role of the Department of Education while, at the same time, raising teacher salaries. Without the feds mandating a raise, how does he propose to do that? I need a better definition of “reduce.”


I’m not a fan, something about his attitude rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the way he spit in the face of hard-working Iowan’s.


I’m passionate in my desire to see the U.S. Department of Education close its doors and turn off the lights. Nothing has done more to harm our education system than this over-bloated, over-valued bureaucracy. The farther a parent has to go to get answers and solutions to problems that exist in their schools, the more discouraged and disengaged they become. Nothing makes a parent feel more powerless than having no voice or needing a full congressional hearing just to get heard.


Sadly, the strongest candidates for returning education power to the states will not survive the primary process.


*No Child Left Behind


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