The candidates on Education

The following information is taken directly from the candidates websites.



Synopsis: Mitt Romney believes that education reform is best achieved by state and local government, school choice through vouchers, and innovation by education entrepreneurs.

Mitt Romney believes that the long-term strategy for getting America’s economy back on track is ensuring a world class education for American students. Global competitiveness begins in the classroom. In order to achieve this goal, students must have the skills to succeed in the workforce, ensuring that the promise of opportunity in this country remains strong.

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt saw what states can do with a culture of high expectations, accountability for results, and increased parental choice. During the third year of his term, the state’s fourth and eighth grade students ranked first in the nation in both reading and math. Massachusetts was the first state to achieve this goal and has remained the nation’s educational leader to this day. Mitt’s experience in Massachusetts reinforced the importance of innovating and duplicating, taking the best ideas from states that are succeeding and replicating them across the country.

Mitt also expanded access to high-quality public charter schools. When the 85% Democratic legislature passed a bill putting a moratorium on any new charter, Mitt vetoed the bill. He believes that no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school and that increased choice translates into better outcomes for all students. He also realizes that teacher quality is integral to student success. States should recruit the best and brightest into the classroom and reward them for a job well done.

During his time in Massachusetts, Mitt promoted access to higher education for students. He proposed the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, providing a four-year tuition-free scholarship to any state institution for any Massachusetts students that scored among the top 25 percent in their school. Mitt also defended the requirement that high school students pass a rigorous test to graduate and saw students and educators respond to heightened accountability with dramatically improved performance.

Part of an opportunity society is rewarding hard work and success. Mitt believes education is a key to the American dream, and students must be encouraged to pursue that dream and work hard to achieve it. Post-secondary education cannot become a luxury for the few; instead, all students should have the opportunity to attend a college that best suits their needs. Whether it is public or private, traditional or online, college must be available and affordable.

Improving education in America is a priority for Mitt. He knows what can be accomplished when governors are empowered to reform their education systems, when education entrepreneurs are given the freedom to innovate, when teachers are rewarded for boosting student achievement, and when students are empowered to select a school or education program that meets their needs. Americans have long been known for their creativity, ingenuity, and bold vision for our country, and this attitude must apply to our education system.

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Synopsis: Barack Obama believes that education reform is best achieved at the federal level through increased spending of tax-payer funds aimed at increasing PELL grant funding, reducing obligation to pay back loans for those working in the civil service sector,  and remove private business (banks) from the student loan program (already accomplished).

Understanding that America has to out-educate the rest of the world to be competitive in the global economy, President Obama has made education a national priority.

President Obama has doubled our investment in scholarships and financial aid so students from working- and middle-class families can access and complete the college education they need to get the good jobs of the future.

President Obama has worked to raise K-12 standards, invest in teachers, and turn around low-performing schools so that children are prepared for college and careers.

The Obama administration fought to save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of educators across the country.

The President signed a new law that makes it easier for students to pay back their federal college loans. Starting in 2014, new borrowers will pay no more than 10 percent of their disposable income, and the President recently proposed accelerating this benefit for current students. The law also allows any remaining debt to be forgiven after 20 years. Those engaged in public-service professions—such as teachers, nurses, or members of the armed forces—will have any remaining debt forgiven after 10 years if they make their payments on time.

President Obama made college more affordable by doubling funding for Pell Grants, increasing the number of recipients from 6 million to 9 million since 2008. He achieved this in part by eliminating the middlemen from the college-loan program, taking away billions of taxpayer dollars that were going to the banks instead of students.

The President created and extended the American Opportunity Tax Credit, worth as much as $10,000 over four years of school. The college tax credit is expected to have helped an estimated 9.4 million students and families in 2011.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama challenged schools and states to keep good teachers on the job and keep students in school until they graduate or turn 18.

The Obama administration also fought to save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of educators across the country. The Recovery Act supported roughly 300,000 education jobs, and in 2010 President Obama helped school districts prevent 161,000 teacher and school staff layoffs.

The administration implemented the Race to the Top program, which rewards states for making tough reforms—raising standards, helping teachers improve, and turning around struggling schools.

Since 2010, the administration has awarded Race to the Top grants, including Early Learning Challenge grants, to 21 states and the District of Columbia, which serve 65 percent of the nation’s children and 59 percent of all low-income students in the country. Overall, the Race to the Top competition has encouraged states to adopt a high-quality framework of educational standards—and 46 states have already adopted the reforms.

President Obama is investing in competitive grants to reform community colleges, supporting partnerships between community colleges and employers to provide pathways to good jobs.As a candidate, Barack Obama proposed the creation of a community college partnership program to support institutions that provide a stepping stone to better jobs for millions of Americans. As President, he kept his word and created a new Community College to Career Fund to build on that progress.

President Obama signed into law an update to the post-9/11 G.I. Bill, which makes it easier for National Guard members who performed active service to qualify for benefits, and allows for education benefits to be transferred to family members.

Along with proposing other common-sense immigration reforms, President Obama is committed to giving the hundreds of thousands of hardworking students who aren’t yet American citizens a chance to earn their citizenship.

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