Sunday, October 31, 2004

Education issues and politics in this election

The NCLB issue has been effectively neutralized for this general election. Education is no longer one of the 'hot' issues that voters think about when we go into the polling booth to choose our president.

However, I will safely say that education is still on the minds of many voters, an important consideration in this next election, even though it is off the radar nationally.

Education is huge at the local level. We've got education funding measures on the ballots, school board elections, city council elections, state superintendent races, governor and other positions up for grabs, charter measures on the ballot, and an assorted other stuff all over the nation.

The hot issue, over and over again, is not higher ed, but is, guess what, NCLB. People, school administrators, parents and teachers, are getting pissed: they see NCLB as unfair, our children are being drilled to take tests and punished for not doing well on tests, there isn't enough funding for education, so on and so forth.

And because the federal law is sweeping, despite Bushco's desparate efforts to hide problems under the rug, the spectre of NCLB hangs over all education issues, no matter how local. This is ironic because this is actually what NCLB proponents want, a sweeping federal education bill. Candidates running for office at all levels are confronted by voters wanting to know: where do you stand on education and NCLB.

I started by compiling a list of recent media articles discussing education and this election. This is certainly not complete;in fact, I could go on more than I do here. These are from news Google searches of the past week.

Swing states
*School board candidates on education.
*This Libertarian fella is running for a House seat, and wants to change NCLB drastically.
*Arkansas state races focus on education.
*Support for Kerry and criticism of NCLB in this editorial.
*Panelists agree NCLB not made for Minnesota.
*Local state legislative race focuses on education funding solutions.
New Mexico
*NCLB produces many negative unintended consequences.
*NCLB makes it impossible for local schools to succeed
*State race all about education funding and taxes.
*This newspaper endorsement of Dubya for president includes criticism of NCLB.
*Most parents are choosing at this school to opt out of the transfer part of NCLB.
*This Tennessean takes issue with Dubya's debate comment that NCLB is really a jobs program.
*Sales tax boost for education is on the ballot.
*State superintendent race focuses on 'education reform': to WASL or not to WASL.
*Important local education issues on the ballot: charter schools measure and education funding bill.

The rest:
*Palm Springs: NCLB goals are unrealistic.
*Report argues that NCLB hurts
*This article is largely critical of NCLB.
*This school district is having problems with meeting NCLB requirements.
*Michelle Obama focuses on education issues.
*Criticism of NCLB by this candidate and by this candidate.
*Education is the defining issue in this state Senate race.
*Criticism of NCLB by all the candidates they queried.
*Education is a top priority in many of the people running for US Senate.
*Superintendent race is all about NCLB and school funding.
*Nebraska fails NCLB.
North Dakota
*Election for state superintendent: both candidates say NCLB needs to be changed for ND.
North Carolina
*State officials plan to challenge NCLB.
*School board candidates discuss NCLB.
*More local races have NCLB on their minds.
*Education key to voters.
South Carolina
*Education at heart of state Senate race.
South Dakota
*Their local food tax repeal bill will impact education funding. NCLB comes up as a problem.
*Education and jobs are top priorities with the local candidates.

Note that the so-called red states freely criticize NCLB.

Maybe the education powers-that-be will put even more money into propaganda, with the hopes they will fool parents and other voters.

Or maybe, they'll try to train the media education writers to better expel DOE propaganda.

Whatever the case, it'll take awhile but the parents will eventually get it. This law isn't designed to improve education; it's rigged to destroy public schools, a year at a time.

While education is being ignored at the national level of discourse, at the local level, the national law is forcing people to take notice of education.