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Obama vs. Romney: Where They Stand on Education

By Amelia Wood*

There's been a lot of talk about how President Obama and Mitt Romney differ when it comes to issues like healthcare, gay rights, and the economy. In the midst of all the talk about these hot button issues, both candidates will occasionally throw in their two cents about educational matters. However, if you're not particularly tuned into what the president and his opponent are discussing on the campaign trail, you may not be exactly sure where each of them stands when it comes to education. It turns out that Obama and Romney agree about a few key things regarding education, but they also disagree about a handful of important things as well. Here's what you should know about their stances:

Photo by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

 What They Agree On

     1. Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama agree that teachers' unions should have less control and that ineffective teachers should be let go. Additionally, each candidate has asserted that merit-based pay for teachers should be taken into consideration.
    2. Obama and Romney are both in favor of increasing the number of charter schools nationwide to give students and parents more educational options and to create healthy competition among educators. Obama has already provided grant money to states that foster the growth of charter schools.
    3. The current U.S. president and his opponent both would like to revise certain parts of the No Child Left Behind Act to give the federal government less strict control over the education policies of individual states. Obama has already limited federal control by issuing waivers to 26 states that agreed to measure their educational improvement in ways that differ from the metrics outlined in the No Child Left Behind Act. If Romney becomes president, he plans to give states additional control to create their own standards and evaluations.
    4. They also both ardently believe that standardized test scores should be factored into teacher evaluations.
 How They Differ

    1. President Obama thinks more teachers need to be hired and the number of students in each American classroom needs to decrease. Romney, on the other hand, thinks that class size has no effect on student performance and that we need to focus on hiring better teachers instead of more teachers.
    2. Romney strongly believes in issuing school vouchers to give students a chance to attend the private, public, or charter schools of their choice. Obama doesn't think vouchers are the solution, and he thinks that voucher programs could actually hurt public schools as a whole by providing more support to private, religious schools and less much-needed support to public education programs.
    3. As a part of his work as president, Obama ended the relationships between private banks and federal student loan programs. In doing so, he was able to collect a substantial amount of money that would have gone to subsidize those private banks. With the money saved as a result of this arrangement, the president was able to increase the number of need-based Pell Grants issued to low-income college students. Mitt Romney believes that private banks should be allowed back into the equation.
    4. Romney wants to reverse Obama's recent legislation that would shut down for-profit colleges that aren't able to produce a substantial number of graduates who are able to become gainfully employed. He believes that the federal government should have no control over which higher education programs exist. Additionally, Romney has praised the work of some for-profit colleges, asserting that they are lowering the overall cost of higher education and producing a more skilled workforce in the medical and technology sectors.
 As the debate over how to reform public education continues to heat up, it should be interesting to see how Obama and Romney's views on the matter change and expand. Let's just hope that, no matter who wins the presidential election, educating the future leaders of our country becomes an even bigger priority in the White House over the next few years.

 (*) This guest post was written by Amelia Wood, a blogger who specializes in articles on medical billing and coding schools. Feel free to reach her at amelia1612 AT gmail DOT com.

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