With congress unable to pass any meaningful legislation, the executive branch has wielded ever greater power in the education policy setting realm, most notably using Race to the Top to bribe cash strapped states to compete with each other in a race to implement all manner of unproven education reforms.
No doubt then, whomever wins the voters approval this coming November to become President, will have a large impact on public education and education policy for at least the next 4 years.
So it is, that tonight is the first step in selecting the next President, the Iowa caucuses. Where members of the Iowa Republican party will select their preferred candidate to face President Obama in November. (the Democrats will select a candidate too, but President Obama is unchallenged). For how this caucus works, the Desmoines Register has a handy guide.
We thought it would be useful to provide a guide on what each of the main GOP Presidential candidates have put forth as their education agenda.
A quick look at Mitt Romney's campaign website reveals that education isn't a priority. Under his issues tab he lists only jobs, healthcare and foreign policy. We have to turn to third party reporting then to discern his intentions. A reading of various articles reveals a candidate who falls in the corporate education reform camp. More testing, teachers with less influence, pay for test results. While he once supported the abolition of the Department of Education, he has since changed that stance.
Ron Paul works towards the elimination of the inefficient Department of Education, leaving education decisions to be made at the state, local or personal level. Parents should have the right to spend their money on the school or method of schooling they deem appropriate for their children.
Education reform has been a top priority for Governor Perry during his 20 years of public service. He has worked to raise the overall quality of education in Texas by aligning the higher education standards more closely with the needs of business, balancing accountability with incentives for teacher and school performance and increasing the emphasis on core subject areas like math, reading and science.
One of the most memorable policy positions Rick Perry has put forth has been his desire to abolish the Department of Education
Rick Santorum doesn't have any education policy listed on his campaign website. This seems to be an evolving theme of the Republican candidates, and one we find troubling.
Perhaps his largest contribution to education policy was the "Santorum Amendment", which Wikipedia describes as follows
The Santorum Amendment was an amendment to the 2001 education funding bill which became known as the No Child Left Behind Act, proposed by then-Republican United States Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania, which promotes the teaching of intelligent design while questioning the academic standing of evolution in U.S. public schools. Though the amendment only survives in modified form in the Bill's Conference Report and does not carry the weight of law, as one of the Discovery Institute intelligent design campaigns it became a cornerstone in the intelligent design movement's "Teach the Controversy" campaign.