The Obama and McCain campaigns squared off at the Great American Education Forum sponsored by the Association of Education Publishers (AEP)* in Washington DC today. Educational policy experts from the campaigns addressed a wide range of positions the candidates are staking out from vouchers to the federal role in education.
Jeanne Century, Director of Science Education, University of Chicago represented the Obama campaign and Lisa Keegan, former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction represented Senator McCain. A panel of publishing industry experts** posed questions followed by a press conference. This is the first head to head discussion of education priorities between the two campaigns.
Given that Education is consistently rated as one of the top 2-3 issues (Pew May 29th) it is surprising that it hasn’t been more visible in the campaign trail so far. The forum was valuable because differences in approach, philosophy, and policy emerged during the discussion.
On most of the issues the differences between the candidates positions are more matters of emphasis. Generally speaking the McCain position is that we already know what works, we just need to let the states sort that out and help them do more of it. Obama wants to take a more pro-active and comprehensive approach to addressing not just K12 but lifelong learning. Both camps support helping teachers be more professional and helping them follow best practices that help kids prepare for the 21st Century.
Follow below the fold for a detailed look at the positions of the campaigns. RSS readers click through for the full article.