NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

OBAMA ON EDUCATION

September 9, 2008

How do John McCain and Barack Obama differ on education?  The National Journal compared and contrasted the two presidential candidates.  Below is a summary of Obama's positions on education.

No Child Left Behind:

  • Obama endorses the law's goals of raising academic standards, holding schools accountable for educating all children and putting a good teacher in every classroom, but he would use more measures than just standardized tests to gauge academic success.
  • He would pour $8 billion in additional annual funding into the law, mostly for teacher quality initiatives; he would add after-school, drop-out prevention, and college readiness and summer programs to help poor and minority students.
  • He calls on parents to do their part.

School choice:

  • Obama supports allowing students in failing schools to transfer to magnet or public charter schools.
  • He opposes vouchers for private and religious schools.

Teacher quality:

  • Obama supports merit pay for successful teachers based on a range of factors, including test scores.
  • He backs incentive pay for teachers in disadvantaged schools, for those who teach hard-to-staff subjects like math and science and for those who mentor novice teachers - as long as differential pay plans are developed cooperatively by local school districts and teachers.

Early childhood education:

  • Obama would spend an additional $10 billion a year on Early Head Start, Head Start and block grants to cover child care for low-income families.
  • His plan for educating children from birth to age five features matching grants for states to adopt or expand early child care and early-education programs and to offer voluntary universal preschool.

College access and affordability:

  • Obama would offer students willing to perform at least 100 hours of community service an annual $4,000 refundable tax credit to help pay for college.
  • He would simplify the financial aid application process and eliminate subsidies for banks that provide federally back student loans and redirect the money to federally administered loans and Pell Grants.

Source: "Obama on Education," in "Where They Stand," National Journal, August 30, 2008.

 

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