Education Week - October 31, 2012 - (Page 10)

10 EDUCATION WEEK n OCTOBER 31, 2012 n FOCUS ON: 2012 ELECTIONS Education Issues Suffuse Ballots From presidential race to state initiatives, voters face policy choices Representatives will slip from gop control, although the battle for the Senate is tighter, with Democrats Education policy and fund- now holding just 51 seats. The baling—from common standards and ance of power in Congress could college access to the prospect of help determine how lawmakers “doomsday” budget cuts—have handle an issue expected to domibeen a steady theme in this year’s nate Washington whoever wins presidential campaign, even as next week: sequestration. more specific K-12 debates lighted That term refers to a series of the political landscape in looming, across-the-board cuts various states. to military and domestic CAMPAIGN And with the strateprograms—including education—intended to prompt gic balance in Congress a long-term deficit-reduction in play, along with the plan. The White House estimakeup of 44 state legislatures and the fate of numerous mates that unless Congress heads education-related ballot measures, off those cuts, education programs the Nov. 6 elections could have a would be slashed by 8.2 percent lasting impact on the direction of starting early next year. Generally, precollegiate policy. most school districts would not While the economy has com- feel the squeeze until the 2013-14 manded attention in the tele- school year. vised face-offs between President Education policy issues have Barack Obama and gop presiden- gotten less play on the campaign tial nominee Mitt Romney, both trail. Mr. Romney has called for candidates have emphasized their turning more than $25 billion in credentials and records on educa- federal school funding over to partion, Mr. Obama through his ini- ents to use at any school of their tiatives over the past four years, choice, including private schools. Mr. Romney through his record as And Mr. Obama has touted his governor of Massachusetts from administration’s K-12 accom2003 to 2007. Their speeches and plishments, including encouragdebates illuminated sharp differ- ing states to raise their academic ences on the federal role in educa- standards through the Race to the tion. Top program and spurring efforts to turn around low-performing schools. Spending Issue OBAMA VS. ROMNEY: A PRIMER ON THE ISSUES President Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney have shown sharp contrasts—and some similarities—on various areas of education policy. Here are highlights of where they stand, and what they’ve said, on key issues. SOURCE: Education Week By Alyson Klein & Andrew Ujifusa 2012 Education spending, in particular, has emerged as an issue in the presidential race, with Mr. Obama contending that his rival would support big cuts to K-12, higher education, and early-learning programs. “Cutting our education budget, that’s not a smart choice, that will not help us compete with China,” Mr. Obama said in his Oct. 22 debate against Mr. Romney in Boca Raton, Fla., which was centered on foreign policy. The president’s criticism stems mainly from a budget blueprint put forth by Mr. Romney’s running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the chairman of the House Budget Committee. Mr. Romney has called the proposal “marvelous,” although he did not explicitly endorse every individual aspect of it. That plan would slash domestic discretionary spending— the broad category that includes education—by roughly 20 percent. For his part, Mr. Romney said during the first debate, held in Denver on Oct. 3, that he would not cut education spending, but he did not offer specifics. “I don’t have any plan to cut education funding and—and grants that go to people going to college. ... I’m not planning on making changes there,” Mr. Romney said. Fiscal issues have also been a major theme of congressional races. Most political prognosticators see little chance that the U.S. House of Key State Questions At the state level, 44 states are holding elections for their legisla- tures this year. Republicans appear likely to keep their partisan edge in statehouses—they now control 26, with the Democrats holding 15, eight split between parties, and one nonpartisan legislature. If the status quo holds, measures passed after the 2010 gop electoral wave that curbed teachers’ collective bargaining and increased school choice could stay firmly in place or even expand in some states. Among individual states, ballot measures are grabbing much of the attention. Dueling initiatives in California seek to dramatically increase state revenue for public schools, both through income-tax increases, while a separate initiative would prohibit unions from using payroll deductions for political purposes, an idea that has roiled teachers’ unions. Idaho residents will decide whether to uphold or repeal three laws passed in 2011 that, respectively, institute teacher merit pay, limit collective bargaining, and require more technology in schools. And Washington state voters will decide whether to open the door to charter schools in that state, one of nine that currently don’t allow them. This year’s ballots also include 11 gubernatorial contests, four elections for state schools chiefs, and voting for 10 state school boards, along with an advisory public education commission in New Mexico. ACCOUNTABILITY OBAMA: Has offered states waivers from some mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act, including letting them replace the law’s 2013-14 deadline for bringing students to proficiency with their own goals for improving achievement. When it comes to fixing what’s wrong with No Child Left Behind, we’ve offered every state the same deal. We’ve said, if you’re willing to set higher, more honest standards than the ones that were set by No Child Left Behind, then we’re going to give you the flexibility to meet those standards.” —Announcing the first 10 states to receive waivers, Feb. 9, 2012 “ ROMNEY: In overhauling the current NCLB law, would require states to create report cards that would evaluate schools on an A-F grading scale and include information on the states’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Would no longer subject them to federal mandates when it comes to identifying and intervening in low-performing schools. States must provide a simple-to-read and widely available public report card that evaluates each school. These report cards will provide accurate and easy-tounderstand information about student and school performance.” —Speech to the Latino Coalition, May 23, 2012 “ President Barack Obama leans in to speak with schoolchildren from Daughter of Zion Jr. Academy at an unscheduled stop after speaking at a campaign event in Delray Beach, Fla., last week. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 31, 2012

Education Week - October 31, 2012
‘i3’ Grantees Face Hurdles on Aid Match
Teacher-Leader Degree Designed as a Vehicle For Career Fulfillment
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Caution Urged on ‘Value Added’ Reviews
College Board Head to Make Underserved a Priority
Miami-Dade Wins $550,00 Broad Prize For Urban Education
E-School Conference Highlights Blended Ed.
Pa. Moves to Ease Penalties for Minors Who Engage in ‘Sexting’
Education Issues Suffuse Ballots
New Orleans Board Race a Magnet For Outsiders’ Cash
Blogs of the Week
Graduation Rates Latest Waiver Flash Point
Practical Hurdles at Play in Pennsylvania Charter-Law Revamp
Policy Brief
Rethinking Principal Evaluation
Teacher Observation: Tech or No Tech?
About the Necktie
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Redefining the Federal Role In Education: Advice for the Winner of Next Week’s Election

Education Week - October 31, 2012