Monday, December 3, 2007

Education: The wind in Obama's sails?

Have you noticed that ever since Barack Obama announced his education platform he's suddenly leading in Iowa and getting more press attention?

Note to the other candidates: Voters are interested in education.

OK, so maybe Obama's new momentum can't ALL be attributed to the education proposals he's making. I suppose having the world's most popular talk show host campaigning for him in Iowa might be a factor.

And there was that intriguing breakfast meet up with Michael Bloomberg, the popular Democratic mayor of New York. (That was such a circus the waitress who earned a $10 tip on a $17 bill from Obama was the subject of a whole separate story in the next day's Daily News.)

Even so, the Obama education plan has people talking in South Carolina, another important primary state. On a conference call with Palmetto State reporters, Obama explained further his views on testing and teacher incentives.

Meanwhile, Obama dipped his toe in the debate over bilingual vs. English-only programs for English language learners, coming down strongly in the bilingual camp in a Scripps News Service story about where the candidates stand on the issue.

Despite the surge of interest in his campaign, not all the Obama press has been good when it comes to education. He drew a quick rebuke from Mitt Romney recently when he admitted to students in New Hampshire that he was a goof off in high school who tried drugs and drank before getting his act together. Romney said he wasn't sure that was a message students needed to hear from a potential role model.

This post also appears on my education blog Get on the Bus.

(Image credit: Wall Street Journal)

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