Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The public wants to know about education

The two-hour Democratic presidential debate last night didn't include the depth of questions posted to YouTube. It's a shame because obviously, the public wants to know the candidates' stands on education.

The first education question posed was a lighter one: who is your favorite teacher?

The next one asked the candidates about their position on No Child Left Behind, complete with musical score.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said he would scrap it. Delaware Sen. Joe Biden said he thought the law was fundamentally flawed. Unfortunately, none of the other candidates were asked about the law and neither of the two leading candidates, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama addressed it. Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd, however, returned to the question later and said the law needs to be improved, not scrapped. "You measure growth in a child. You invest in failing schools. But I would not scrap it entirely. Accountability is very important in this country. We ought not to abandon that idea," he said.

The next questioner asked the candidates whether they sent their children to public or private school. Sen. Hillary Clinton pointed out that while Chelsea attended private school in Washington, D.C., she attended public ones in Arkansas.

Finally the candidates were asked about sex education and how early it should begin, perhaps because of the controversy over Illinois Senator Barack Obama's stance that sex education should begin early. Obama noted that it was important for children to learn that people should not touch them inappropriately.

Despite the number of submissions dealing with college affordability (see previous post), the subject was not raised at all. So even though education is on the public's mind, it doesn't seem to be on the minds of CNN officials screening the questions and very little pressure was put on the top Democratic candidates to address a key issue during the debate.

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