Thursday, August 12, 2004

Who's the education president again?

CNN tackles the education policies of Dubya and Kerry. It was a compare and contrast type of piece.
Looking to reestablish his standing on the issue, Bush aides say their candidate will start talking even more about education. After focusing on elementary and middle schools in his first term, if re-elected Bush would look to increase accountability in high schools, but also add in more funding for college-level courses in high school and improved reading, math and science programs.

Kerry, for his part, has sought to brandish his centrist credentials on this issue, calling for increased pay for new teachers but requiring them to pass rigorous tests and making them eligible for some bonuses only if their kids show learning improvement, a reform Democratic-leaning teachers' unions haven't traditionally embraced. He also proposes to take away drivers' licenses for kids who drop out of school.

Still, on education the differences between a Bush and Kerry Administration would likely be small. Both candidates support holding schools to federal standards in exchange for increased funding. Kerry would offer billions more in federal dollars for education than Bush and focus more on improving conditions and pay for teachers, as Democrats typically do.
All in all, I thought it was superficial but amazingly fair. I was shocked.

Something they said, which surprised me to no end, deserves to be highlighted.
This year, with teachers and some parents angry about how No Child Left Behind has played out, John Kerry has an opportunity regain some ground with voters concerned about education.

Education is less of an issue than in 2000, but in a tight campaign, it could make a difference at the margins
Ya hear that, Kerry people?

One quibble with this article is that they make no effort into telling us just why the two candidates have such similar educational agendas. That would be really interesting, wouldn't it.

But remember, the media never touches the corporate agenda behind the current education bill. That would be asking too much. Ah, well, corporate media just doesn't report on or criticize any corporate agendas, do they.

P.S. I just got my copy of Emery and Ohanian's new book, Why is Corporate America Bashing our Schools?. From the looks of it, it's full of juicy wonky details. I'll report on it when I'm finished. A brief peek at it makes me already recommend this book as a must-read for those who are interested in public education.