Obama vs. Romney On Education: Dueling Views
7 months ago
Both men agree schools need to improve, but whose ideas are better?
By most any metric, the United States is far from atop the class in education.
American students rank 27th in math and 21st in science compared to students in 30 other industrialized countries, according to researcher William H. Schmidt of Michigan State University. By the end of 8th grade, U.S. students are two years behind their international peers in math.
A Broad Foundation education report found that 70 percent of eighth graders can’t read proficiently and most will never catch up.
And the problem starts early. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, kids in the United States start falling behind their Asian and European counterparts in core education performance as soon as fourth grade and continuing through high school.
As both President Barack Obama and the GOP challenger Mitt Romney campaign to lead the country into brighter educational days, Loop21.com takes a look at the two men’s contrasting positions on our nation’s schools and how best to improve our standing in the world.
Obama’s accomplishments in the theater of education include implementing the $4.35 billion Race to the Top competitive school grant program, which emphasizes high accountability and high standards in schools. Race to the Top rewards states that have improved their education standards across a variety of categories, while also learning from such programs and sharing the lessons with schools across the country. In addition, he has signed the Health Care and Education Affordability Act of 2010, increased funding for land-grant colleges, provided $5 billion for early learning programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and provided nearly $2 billion in new funding for child care and development block grants.
Democrats, led by Obama, saved more than $60 billion in student loan programs by removing the banks-as-middlemen system. Instead, they pushed for the federal government to invest in students directly, ensuring that students have access to federal loans with reasonable interest rates.
The GOP begs to differ with the assertion that Obama has been good for education, enumerating the rising costs of higher education and its effect on families and the struggle college graduates face to find jobs. Republicans suggest Romney is better suited to the task of bringing America back from to greatness.
Along the campaign trail over the past few weeks Romney has anchored his current position in his accomplishments of the past, recalling his time as governor of Massachusetts, when his state finished first in the country in fourth and eighth grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) performance exams. The distinction marked the first time in history a state had achieved this accomplishment.