Home » Education and the Presidential Candidates


(But don’t forget states have the most control when it comes to education, so be sure to check out where your Governor stands at Education Fifty

November 6, 2012: Election Day!

The debates might be over, but commentary and coverage are sure to heat up as November 6th gets closer. We’ll be tracking the coverage and commentary here:

My View: Why Mitt Romney is a better choice for education reform
Jeanne Allen on CNN Schools of Thought Blog about how education would fare under a Romney administration.

Education Reform in the Next White House
CER brings you a quick overview of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) event.

Call Me Maybe? Democracy Prep Students leave out the maybe and urge you to “Vote for Somebody”!


October 22, 2012: The final Presidential Debate

Soon the presidential candidates will meet for the last time to debate and with the topic focused on foreign policy, one may be tempted to think education has no place in the discussion. But one would be wrong. There are at least two critical education questions that should be addressed.

QUESTION 1: A recent report from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Chancellor of New York city schools Joel Klein found that “Educational failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk.” The task force behind the report argued that too many young people are not qualified for the military because they do not have an adequate level of education. Do you agree with them and how would you address the issue? READ MORE…

Post-Debate Reactions and Commentary:
Once, I Went to a Foreign Policy Debate … and an Education Fight Broke Out
A few highlights from the foreign policy debate, where both presidential candidates recognized the link between education and national security and competitiveness.

Fact check: Romney’s claims on teachers unions
Los Angeles Times reporter looks into Mitt Romney’s assertion that parents and students come first and that “the teacher unions are going to have to go behind.”


October 16, 2012: The second Presidential Debate

As the Presidential candidates take to the stage tonight for the final debate on domestic issues, many reformers are wondering if we’re going to hear a real discussion on education – the most important domestic issue of our time. The last time President Obama and Governor Romney went head-to-head we were pleasantly surprised that “education” was mentioned quite often, more so than in any other presidential debate ever. However, neither candidate truly used the forum to fully discuss their vision for how to improve education in America.

Last week, we posed some questions to the Vice Presidential candidates education reformers would like to hear addressed. And since the word “education” was barely even uttered, we will pose some of them again – along with one or two others – for this evening’s debate. READ MORE…


October 11, 2012: The VP Debate

The VP Debate: Another Good Night for Ed Reform?
Last week’s Presidential debate was a pleasant surprise from the perspective of this veteran education reformer accustomed to sitting through years of debates, listening to candidates talk about important issues like the economy, jobs, and national security with a barely a mention of the building block for the solution to all of those problems – EDUCATION.

President Obama and Governor Romney proactively peppered comments on education throughout their discussions, giving the American people a pretty good idea of their different positions on the topic. As we look forward to tonight’s Vice Presidential debate, I hope that Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan follow the lead and make education a major topic in the debate. I want to hear more about the two tickets’ vision for education in this country. Read More…

Read up before you view the debate with these additional resources:
Questions for Biden and Ryan about money following the child, NCLB, class size, differences between Romney and Obama on education issues, Race to the Top, and teachers & their unions, as well as some additional information that might provide context for debate viewers in the event these questions are raised.

Paul Ryan: Education Pioneer
Romney’s VP pick Paul Ryan staffed the committee that evaluated options for the District of Columbia before school choice and charters were even a glimmer in their eyes, and was instrumental in influencing his later colleagues in Congress to promote reform throughout numerous vehicles.

Step One: Spot the Real Reformer
Politicians love to say the word “education,” but when it comes to actually doing something about it, outside forces must do the pushing.

Post-Debate Reactions and Commentary:

Experts’ views about Obama and Romney on Education
CER President Jeanne Allen, along with others in the education reform arena, comments on the policies and positions of the presidential candidates.


October 3, 2012: The first Presidential Debate

Candidates Square Off on Education: How Much Chicken in Every Pot?
Who knew education would come up repeatedly tonite?

Romney: After the president opened the debate about his jobs plan, Romney introduced the education component into the debate, combining jobs and skills, which come from education.

Obama: We have to improve our education system — we have a program called Race to the Top and now we are going to hire 100,000 math and science teachers.

Romney: I agree education is key to the future of our economy but we have 27 different training programs across government not working together. (we are fact checking this)

Obama: Says he inherited 18 programs for education that were well intentioned but not working for kids; that one teacher in NV has 42 kids and 10 year old textbooks. (we are fact checking this, too!)

This smattering of their words scratches the surface of an engaging, competitive conversation that highlighted education six times (at least) before the first 15 minutes were up and despite having been asked no direct questions about education.Read More…

A few helpful resources to serve as a primer of sorts as the candidates go head-to-head tonight in their first debate:

Presidential Candidates Focus on Education
In May 2012, both Obama and Romney turned their attention to education, signaling a new focus on education reform as a campaign issue.

Opinion: Schooling Obama
VIDEO: Jeanne Allen weighs in on parent power, education reform & the elections on WSJ Opinion Journal.

Where Do Romney, Obama Stand on Education?
VIDEO: Any president that doesn’t make education a central issue deserves a “C”.

School Choice is Key Issue in Election
National Journal piece noting school choice is where Mitt Romney and President Obama’s education plans differ the most.

GOP Convention Highlights Ed Reform; Now It’s the Dems Turn
CER is in the middle of a campaign to educate the public and politicians about what real education reform is and why it is crucial to the future our country. It’s heartening to see that some officials already understand that. With the need for education reform to be a national – not a partisan imperative – the Democrats must now ante up.

Post-Debate Reactions and Commentary:

Fact Check: On education, gains difficult to demonstrate
Los Angeles Times reporter Howard Blume investigates claims made by both parties about education during the debate.