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Elizabeth Hartline Green

What we need from an education candidate

And now we come to a close with my series on the candidates' stances on education. The most interesting thing that came from this series was that, for some reason, the further I got in this project, the more disillusioned with all of the candidates’ education policies I’ve become, for various reasons. As a final note to the series, here are the three things I think we need in a president, as far as his or her educational policy goes.

  1. Realism. I’m all for idealists—don’t get me wrong. The world needs dreamers, and high achievers, and I’m glad that we have them. But I’m tired of hearing educational policy that simply isn’t realistic at a federal level. Since education has been ruled by the Supreme Court as a states’ rights issue, it is hard to imagine any wide-reaching federal programs being successful this soon after the unpopularity of No Child Left Behind. Likewise, on the other side of the coin, I don’t see a vast retreat of federal involvement in education. Same with union involvement—teachers unions simply are not going to disappear overnight. Now, I could very well be wrong, and we could see any of these things happens. I’ve been wrong before, probably. This is simply my opinion, and I would like to hear proposals from candidates that may actually be feasible.

  2. Details. Candidates have been promising to release their detailed education proposals, but none have yet appeared. Give me something to work with, guys. I’m tired of hearing rhetoric about “school choice” and “universal preschool”—I want to know how you’re actually going to make it work. Additionally, more details can make your education plans seem more realistic.

  3. Straight stories. Politicians are notorious for changing their stories, but I would like to ask for some consistency with these education policies. Stop going back and forth on NCLB, or saying you’re for all local control and supporting strong federal policy. Figure out what you stand for, and go with that.

Now, if you’ll notice, I said nothing about the actual education policies that our next president should adopt. I can respect a candidate even if I completely disagree with their actual policies, if he or she is upfront, consistent, realistic with the situation in which policy is made, and doesn’t speak in rhetoric.

Perhaps it was to be expected that I would become disillusioned in what is shaping up to be the longest campaign ever. It’s hard even to realize that we still have over a year until the election is even going to happen, and after a while I just want to have the election over with. But I do think, that if we have a president who will do these things for educational policy, then we will have a much clearer direction of where we’re headed, and will be in a better position to make informed votes and prepare our reform strategies accordingly.

Elizabeth Hartline Green: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 30, 2007 in Candidates on Education | Education
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