NBC’s interviews of President Obama and Governor Romney during Education Nation read like a menu of education’s most talked about issues: common core state standards, teacher evaluations based on student performance, investing in early childhood, funding for K-12 and higher education, and expanding school choice (i.e. charter schools, vouchers).
While the candidates agreed on some issues – such as supporting charter schools and the important role of a teacher on student success – there was great divergence in some areas of interest to special educators:
- Vouchers for IDEA/Title I Funding: Gov. Romney further articulated his position that parents of students with disabilities should receive their child’s federal share of IDEA funding to spend on whatever school they believe best meets their needs. Gov. Romney stated that this would be the same model for Title I funding for students from low income backgrounds. Though President Obama did not directly address this in his interview, his administration has not supported such voucher system thus far.
- Teachers Matter: Both President Obama and Gov. Romney stated again and again that teachers are the key to student success and both expressed support for rigorous evaluation systems. But they differed somewhat over prevalence of performance pay, with President Obama stating that it makes sense in some situations while Gov. Romney stating that teachers should receive higher compensation based on student growth.
- Testing: President Obama stated – though vaguely – that assessments of student learning cannot be a standardized test, with Gov. Romney expressing support for standardized tests that reinforce the curriculum as a way of gauging student performance.
- School choice: While both candidates support the expansion of charter schools, Gov. Romney was more explicit about his vision for shifting towards a system that supports and incentivizes school choice options such as charter schools, private schools and cyber-learning.
Check out the full interview with President Obama and Governor Romney here.
For more information on the candidate’s education platforms, read CEC’s Voter Education Guide.
CEC does not support or oppose any candidate or political party.