The 2012 presidential candidates want to make sure that every student in the U.S. has access to a top-notch education. But they have different strategies for strengthening the country’s educational system. One of the main issues is how to improve the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law enacted by George W. Bush in 2002. The law calls for a focus on reading and math, and requires annual standardized testing of students in grades 3 through 8 and during high school. Here’s where the presidential candidates stand on education:
* Barack Obama believes in federal help for students who can’t afford college. He urges states to have high standards in public schools and develop new programs for students. He believes in the No Child Left Behind Act but wants schools to have more flexibility in the approach. Obama wants to improve early education and the participation of America’s students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Here are some of his ideas:
-Give necessary training and skills to teachers. Reward them for good work so they can further education.
-Give hardworking students who aren’t yet American citizens a chance to earn their citizenship.
-Change laws so students must repay their loans at only 10% of their income. Support teachers by forgiving any remaining loan balance after 10 years of service.
* Mitt Romney believes parents should have more choices in how their kids receive an education, whether from a public, private, charter or online school. He also supports reducing the federal government’s role in education, testing students and rewarding talented teachers. Here are some of his ideas:
-Make federal funds for low-income and special-needs students moveable, so that their families can choose which school to attend.
-Require states to eliminate caps on charter schools and online schools.
-Give parents better information about how schools are performing through school district “report cards.”
* The candidates’ positions are culled from their websites and other primary sources.