Given the tanking economy and the lives of Americans on the line overseas, it is quite understandable why education has gotten short shrift in this presidential campaign. But scratch beneath the surface, and you’ll find that it is a high priority for many voters and has received much more attention in state-level campaigns than at the national level.
Education Week provides a nice summary (“Education on the Ballot”) of education-related issues on this year’s ballots in the 50 states. Here in Wisconsin, the only major race on the ballot is for President–although control of the State Assembly is up for grabs. Our state-level offices are up in non-presidential years and the election for state superintendent of public instruction takes place in April 2009.
Tomorrow I plan to vote for a President with intellectual, moral and leadership abilities that I can be proud of … with a vice-presidential partner who is ready from day one … with a once-in-a-generation biography and life story. On education, this individual is clearly engaged and interested in the policy complexity that shapes what 21st Century American schools look like. He understands the importance of the building blocks of good schools … great teachers, high standards, sustainable funding, engaged leaders, and supportive parents and communities. He is also open to new ways of doing business that puts the interests of students first and the preferences of adults second. I believe that he will build upon and strengthen what is working while looking for new answers to intractable problems.
That individual, of course, is Barack Obama.
I look forward to watching history unfold tomorrow evening and beyond. There will be lots to discuss in the coming days…