Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Where They Stand: The Presidential Candidates Square off on Education

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Where They Stand: The Presidential Candidates Square off on Education

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Barack Obama

* Emphasis on higher education.

* Believes in the importance of working cooperatively with teachers' unions.

* Requested no funding for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides funding for students to attend private schools in the district.

* Focuses on accessibility; every student should have the opportunity to get an education.

"No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don't have the money."

* Encourages states and school districts to reform teacher evaluations and reward teachers for student achievement based on standardized test scores.

* Supports the DREAM Act, which gives undocumented youth the chance to earn citizenship through education or military service.

* Advocates for fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which addresses the educational needs of children with disabilities.

* Wants to reform the No Child Left Behind Act to focus on low-performing schools and college and career preparation.

* Acknowledges the achievement gap as a pressing issue in today's educational climate.

"We know that it's right to close the achievement gap that exists in too many cities and towns, and that it's right to focus on the inequitable distribution of resources and qualified teachers in our schools."

* Believes in expanding the Department of Education and overall federal regulation of education

* Proposes a 2.5 percent increase in discretionary spending for the Department of Education

"We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools."

* Supports centralizing the federal student loan system so federal loans originate from the government instead of through private banks.

* Believes in increasing Pell Grant amounts and expanding eligibility for low- to middle-income college students.

* Created a law requiring for-profit and certificate programs to prepare students for gainful employment in order to qualify for federal aid.

Track record as president:

Implemented the Race to the Top program, which rewards states for raising standards, helping teachers improve and turning around struggling schools; established a fund to help community colleges and states partner with businesses to train workers in a range of high-growth and in-demand areas, such as health care, transportation and advanced manufacturing; expanded the federal Pell grant program. …

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