Why Aren’t Obama and Romney Talking About Education?

Andrew Rotherham weighed in on this question last week.  Although polls show that 67% of voters in swing states said education was “extremely important” to them, President Obama and Mr. Romney haven’t talked much about education.  Why?  Rotherham believes it is because “education reform doesn’t fit well with the overall argument either candidate is making about why he should get to sit in the Oval Office next January.”

Both candidates have issues with their party-base when it comes to education.  Though Romney championed rigorous standards and declared improving schools as a critical national issue as Massachusetts governor, as a presidential candidate he has backed off and said it is an issue for the states to deal with.  “The former moderate from Massachusetts now finds himself to the political right of President George W. Bush on education,” writes Rotherham.

Obama has his own issues with education reform.  Though he has compiled an “impressive” record on education, his campaign is only highlighting two accomplishments—making student loans more efficient and increasing Pell Grants for college students.  He appears to be playing down his K-12 reforms, including the competitive grant competitions that have “sparked the biggest wave of state education policy change ever,” because much of what he has down has antagonized key interests in his party, particularly the teachers unions.

Rotherham then lambasts the media for not doing their due diligence on this issue.  “You’re more likely to hear one of the candidates asked about the taste or proper treatment of dogs than about what they’re going to do to address the problems facing our schools,” he writes.  There were few questions about education during the Republican presidential debates, and the education forum hosted by the College Board and News Corp was only attended by four candidates, two of whom participated by satellite.  “Pretty much tells you what they think of the 67 percent’s wishes to hear more about education.  It’s time to change that.”

To read the full article, please visit http://ideas.time.com/2012/04/26/what-obama-and-romney-wont-tell-you-about-education/