Thursday, January 31, 2008

NCLB and the Presidential Candidates

None of the candidates were there but they overshadowed the hearing of the National Commission on No Child Left Behind in Washington, D.C.

The commission held the hearing to push Congress to pass the reauthorization of the Act. And the co-chairmen of the commission had some choice words about the election and the lack of an education theme.

"Why can't we get the candidates to talk about...issues that are important?" asked Tommy Thompson, former Wisconsin governor and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, who made a short run at the candidacy. "Maybe we can start a surge on No Child Left Behind."

And his co-chairman, former Georgia governor Roy Barnes, made similar pointed remarks. "Education should be the number one issue that should be discussed and it is not," he said. "This is about whether this is a competitive nation in a competitive world."

That led to some spontaneous applause from part of the overflow audience in the Caucus Room of the Senate's Russell Building.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Romney's 10% Solution and Youth Voting Obstacles

Maybe it should come as no surprise that the forces of capitalism are merging with the ideals of student volunteerism in Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.

The former governor of Massachusetts, who amassed a personal fortune as a business man that has been estimated to be worth as much as $350-million, is using money as a way to help energize young campaign workers.

In what appears to be the first program of its kind, Mr. Romney's campaign is signing up students to solicit donations and paying them a 10-percent commission if they raise at least $1,000.

Here's The Chronicle's look at the effort.

Meanwhile, we also wrote this story last week about the obstacles college students face to voting.

As the youth vote gains a lot of attention this election cycle, groups that register, educate, and protect student voters are redoubling their efforts, the story reports. And advocacy groups are lobbying for laws — like Election Day registration — that favor college-aged voters.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

As race heats up, education simmers down

I wish I could report Ted Kennedy was endorsing Barack Obama after a long talk about education policy. But Kennedy, a key ed policy player in Congress, has not mentioned education in any of his quotes about Obama.

In fact, as Obama has emerged as a top candidate and the primaries have heated up, there isn't much talk at all about education. Since Iowa, where schools at least were coming up in conversation, education has fallen off the radar while the economy has exploded as a top concern.

Even when Obama sits for an interview he is sticking with the general themes of his education platform.

The post also appear on my education blog, Get on the Bus.

(Image credit:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Students choose Clinton

While South Carolina voters cast their votes today, Virginia's Washington and Lee University -- a liberal arts college in Lexington, wrapped up a mock election and declared the next president. The students -- about 95 percent of whom work on the convention -- chose Hillary Clinton, despite popular sentiment favoring Sen. Obama, who came in second. You can read about it here in the Roanoke Times. According to the story, the students have a pretty good track record for predicting presidents, and do so based on research.
How good is the endorsement of about 1,900 students from a small college in Virginia? According to the story, in 100 years of holding conventions, they've only missed five times.
In the wake of some fierce politicking and debating, she also picked up a primary endorsement from the NYT, which had this to say about her views on education: "Mrs. Clinton also has good ideas about fixing the dysfunction in Mr. Bush’s No Child Left Behind education program." You can read the whole endorsement here.
More as the primary season gathers steam.
~ Cathy Grimes
The Daily Press

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

school accountability

What if the candidates were judged not on their general education positions but on school accountability alone? That's what we attempted to do at USA Today. This ran Monday.

Romney came out the best, at least from our the school accountability perspective. Of course the economy, not education, was the focus in Michigan.

Richard Whitmire

Friday, January 11, 2008

a matter of perspective: student loans

Must have been fun to hear Sec'y. Spellings' chat at the Press Club on Thursday. Evidently she and Sen. Clinton view the student loan industry's relationship with the current administration from different perspectives. The Chronicle of Higher Ed offers this on its News Blog. Clinton has been sharply critical of the student loan industry and introduced legislation last session addressing the scandal. She's also made it part of her education talking points, folding criticism of the loan industry with a call for better access and more affordability. Spellings evidently does not share her view and defended her department's oversight and investigation into allegations of abuse. When they see it, they investigate it.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Scholarly Take on the Iowa Caucus

For all the hype that it generates, does the Iowa caucus actually play a major role in shaping the presidential race? Should it?

Political scientists have chewed over those questions since 1972, when the Iowa Democratic Party moved its caucus from April to the then-startlingly-early date of January 24. (Iowa Republicans followed suit four years later.)

At our Campaign U. blog, we spoke with Christopher C. Hull, an adjunct assistant professor of government at Georgetown University and a former legislative aide in Des Moines, about his take. He wades into these debates over the Iowa caucus in a new book, Grassroots Rules: How the Iowa Caucus Helps Elect American Presidents (Stanford University Press).

Mr. Hull concedes that New Hampshire packs a stronger punch than Iowa. But he argues that the New Hampshire vote is partly shaped by the Iowa results — and that Iowa’s mediating role appears to be growing stronger over time, perhaps because the Internet allows candidates to quickly exploit shifts in momentum. (John Kerry, for example, had an online fund-raising windfall during the days between the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary in 2004.)

The full Q&A can be found here.

Bill Gates and the Presidential Election

Happy New Year, edelectioners. On this day of the Iowa caucuses, Bloomberg News treats us to a story about Bill Gates' contribution to the presidential campaigns. He's not a backer of a candidate, but a cause -- education. He's poured $30 million into the Ed08 campaign so far, according to Bloomberg News (not to be confused with the potential third-party candidate).

The article also notes that "among New Hampshire residents planning to vote in the Democratic primary on Jan. 8, education tied with the economy for second among domestic issues, according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll."

So why isn't education a higher priority on the campaign trail?