Election Year Education Agenda
As the political season heats up, education is sure to be a hot-button issue among the candidates. President Barak Obama staked out his position in his recent State of the Union Address. Among the items on his agenda are making college more affordable, and urging states to raise the drop-out age to 18 years old. In addition, he emphasized the importance of teachers, which is a recurring theme for his administration:
Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. In return, grant schools flexibility: To teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn. That’s a bargain worth making.
Higher Ed Proposal Draws Reaction
To make higher education more affordable for middle-class families, Obama let it be known that colleges and universities that can’t keep tuition under control risk losing federal funds. Some lawmakers took exception to that. Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said, “I don’t believe the federal government has any business being involved in education.” Fellow Democrat Representative Rob Andrews (NJ) said he wasn’t sure that was “workable,” but Andrews did support the President’s proposal to hold down interest rates on student loans.
Although Obama asked institutions of higher learning to take responsibility for college costs, he also suggested that the states have an important role to play by prioritizing education and reflecting that in their budgets.
As the battle lines are being drawn between Democrats and Republicans, spending on education is sure to loom large in the debate. Stay tuned.