Education and the Election

November 4, 2008 | Blog

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…


  1. Reply


    November 4, 2008

    It is understandable that education has taken a backseat to the current issues on the economy and those overseas, but educational issues have hardly been touched upon by either candidate. As a future educator, education is an extremely high priority in my voting choice.

    Tomorrow, I also plan to vote for a President with "intillectual, moral and leadership abilities that I can be proud of". I believe that the candidate that I am voting for has chosen a better qualified running mate because she posseses the power to speak for the woman whose voices are not heard.

    How can someone be so sure that Barack Obama and his running mate completely understand the importance of the building blocks of a good school when they have barely touched upon education in their speeches? Obama can spend 100,000 dollars a minute of other peoples money for his thirty minute commercial, but doesn't find it important to discuss his educational plans? Or maybe he doesn't plan on doing anything beneficial for education because all the money has been wasted on his pointless campaigns.

    Currently, nothing in the educational system is "working" so there is really nothing for him to "build upon and strengthen what is working". No Child Left Behind cost millions and millions of dollars to do absolutely nothing for the children except drill them with standardized testing, which obviously isn't working.

    So, as responsible voters, the correct choice tomorrow, is to vote for John McCain.

  2. Reply

    Liam Goldrick

    November 4, 2008

    Where to begin knowing that this conversation likely will be moot by tomorrow evening?

    Obama has spoken about education numerous times during the campaign. The media simply hasn't covered it in great depth. Obama's platform is much more robust than McCain -- go to their web sites and compare them.

    Obama has proposed more education-related initiatives ... check out his teacher residency program legislation .. in his shorter tenure in the U.S. Senate than McCain has. In fact, what has McCain actually done for education in his decades in the Senate? Mostly pro-voucher stuff and a good vote or two on children's nutrition.

    In terms of Palin, she can barely speak for herself let alone anyone else. The national polls suggest that most independent women voters are completely turned off.

    Finally, I love how Republicans are whining about Obama's campaign now that they have been outspent for once. The difference, this time, is that it is real people funding the Obama campaign and not the corporatations and lobbyists that generally fund the GOP.


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