The silly season of politics is upon us. In an effort to do my part, I am going to endeavor, here, to provide an overview of the two parties’ education platforms. My disclaimer is that I am digging through the political-speak to try to figure out what each party actually wants to DO with respect to education, so I encourage you to read the platforms yourself for the whole story. For all of my international readers, I imagine this will be quite interesting for you! I will review the RNC platform today and the DNC platform tomorrow.
Advancing Americans with Disabilities
- Preventative efforts in early childhood education, especially in pre-reading
Education: A Chance for Every Child
- Providing broad education choices to parents and children at the State and local level.
- Accountability at every stage of schooling.
- Consumer rights in education – choice – as the most important driving force for renewing our schools.
Attaining Academic Excellence for All
- Accountability on the part of administrators, parents and teachers
- Higher academic standards; programs that support the development of character and financial literacy; periodic rigorous assessments on the fundamentals, especially math, science, reading, history, and geography;
- Renewed focus on the Constitution and the writings of the Founding Fathers, and an accurate account of American history that celebrates the birth of this great nation
- Transparency, so parents and the public can discover which schools best serve their pupils;
- Flexibility and freedom to innovate, so schools can adapt to the special needs of their students and hold teachers and administrators responsible for student performance.
- Innovations in education reform occurring at the State level based upon proven results.
- Building on the basics, especially STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) and phonics
- Ending social promotions;
- Merit pay for good teachers; classroom discipline; parental involvement; and strong leadership by principals, superintendents, and locally elected school boards.
- Providing every child equal access to technology.
Consumer Choice in Education
- Options for learning, including home schooling and local innovations like single-sex classes, full-day school hours, and year-round schools.
- School choice – whether through charter schools, open enrollment requests, college lab schools, virtual schools, career and technical education programs, vouchers, or tax credits
- Promotion of local career and technical educational programs and entrepreneurial programs
- Block grants and the repeal of numerous federal regulations which interfere with State and local control of public schools.
- Federal money through Title I for low-income children and through IDEA for disabled youngsters following the students to whatever school they choose so that eligible pupils, through open enrollment, can bring their share of the funding with them.
- Family literacy programs
- English First
- Replacing “family planning” programs for teens with abstinence education which teaches abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior
- Protecting teachers against frivolous litigation so that they may take reasonable actions to maintain discipline and order in the classroom.
- Legislation that will correct the current law provision which defines a “Highly Qualified Teacher” merely by his or her credentials, not results in the classroom.
- School districts to making use of alternative teaching talent from business, STEM fields, and the military, especially among our returning veterans.
- Replacing tenure systems based on the “last in, first out” policy with a merit-based approach
- Background checks and personal conduct standards for all personnel who interact with school children
- School-based clinics that provide referrals, counseling, and related services for abortion and contraception.
- Federal funds being used in mandatory or universal mental health, psychiatric, or socio- emotional screening programs.
- Calling on State officials to ensure that our public colleges and universities be places of learning and the exchange of ideas, not zones of intellectual intolerance favoring the Left.
- Establishing new systems of learning to compete with traditional four-year colleges: expanded community colleges and technical institutions, private training schools, online universities, life-long learning, and work-based learning in the private sector.
- Public policy advancing the affordability, innovation, and transparency to make accessible to everyone the emerging alternatives, with their lower cost degrees, to traditional college attendance.
- Efforts to provide families with greater transparency and the information they need to make prudent choices about student loans: completion rates, repayment rates, future earnings, and other factors that may affect their decisions.
- Federal government serving as an insurance guarantor for the private sector as they offer loans to students.
- Evaluating any regulation that drives tuition costs higher to balance its worth against its negative impact on students and their parents.
- Federal government originating student loan
To read more about the Republican Platform for 2012, click here.