Monday, October 20, 2008

My Masterpiece

At last, here the the fruits of my labor - is one fruit of some of my labor - but I'm kinda proud of it. I have managed a one-page summary comparing Obama and McCain's positions on education issues.

Granted, it's really, really a summary, but that almost takes more work than just regurgitating everything I can get my hands on. No, instead I have to go through everything I can get my hands on, and then decide what the main points are and how to compare them on one page.
And try to stay unbiased (and un-sarcastic) while I write it out.

So, anyway, as much as I would like to say I'm so cool and politically active that I did all this for fun/personal education, but such is not the case. A fellow grad student and I are co-editors of the Ed Psych Society Newsletter, and we decided it's important to help keep grad students (and other members of the campus community who might stumble across our newsletter) informed of issues outside of the school bubble we so often get trapped in. And because education issues haven't exactly captured the spotlight in the current presidential race, and because we are, afterall, in the field of EDUCATIONAL psychology, we thought it might be nice to provide a little cheat-sheet looking at Obama and McCain's respective positions.

And although it's for the newsletter, why not share it here, as well?
(besides, that way, y'all can tell me if I've got some blatant misconceptions goin' or fail miserably at remaining unbiased or whatever...). And remember, it's a summary. And the formatting isn't as pretty, but that's okay

So have fun, enjoy, or do what you will. I feel like I deserve a beer...but it'll have to wait 'til Friday...

Special Report: 2008 Election
The Presidential Candidates Weigh in on Education*

Barack Obama & Joe Biden
“Lifetime Success through Education"

  • Current Weaknesses of the Educational System
    o Shortcomings/unfulfilled promises of NCLB
    o Teacher retention
    o Soaring college costs
  • Teachers & Teacher Recruitment
    o Incentives for graduates with degrees in math & science to become teachers
    o Boost funding & support for teacher preparation programs (scholarships, accreditation requirements)
    o Expand mentoring programs to help w/ retention
    o Work with teachers to develop “new & innovative ways” to increase pay; allow districts to reward teachers in underserved areas, teachers consistently excelling in classroom, & mentor teachers
  • No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
    o Reform, starting by increasing funding. Improve assessments, shift focus to individualized instruction
  • Early Childhood Education
    o “Zero to Five” plan – support parents and children from infancy through pre-K
    o Expand Early-Head Start/Head Start
    o Provide affordable, high-quality child care
  • K-12 Education
    o Address dropout crisis
    o Expand & Support (i.e., double the funding) for afterschool programs & college outreach programs
    o Math and Science = national priority
  • Higher Education
    o Simplify the financial aid process
    o Make college affordable: American Opportunity Tax Credit
  • Accountability
    o Improve the current standardize assessments; long-term tracking of student readiness for college and/or the workplace
    o Support schools needing improvement, rather than punishing them

For more information, visit

John McCain & Sarah Palin
“Excellence, Choice, & Competition in Education”

  • Current Weaknesses of the Educational System
    o Cultural problems
    o Avoidance of genuine accountability
    o Parents lack power/control/choice
  • Administrators, Teachers & Teacher Recruitment
    o 5% of funding set aside for states to recruit teachers graduating in top 25% of class or participating in alternative teacher recruitment program
    o Incentive bonuses for: high performing teachers to locate in “the most challenging educational settings;” teachers in subjects like math & science; teachers who demonstrate student improvement
    o Funding for professional development
    o Localized control of funding (i.e., school principals)
  • No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
    o Build on NCLB; shift focus to inspiring individual students vs. assessing group averages
  • Early Childhood Education
    o Comprehensive approach, focus on literacy & language development, math, motor & social skills.
    o Direct funding toward early hearing/vision screening, immunizations.
    o Educate parents on preparing children for a productive educational experience
  • K-12 Education
    o Keep parents informed of child’s performance; Offer parents more choice/control
    o Single criterion: raise student achievement
    o Funding specifically for technological advancement
  • Higher Education
    o Simplify the financial aid process
    o Remove/simplify regulatory barriers
  • Accountability
    o Every federally supported program MUST include child-centered, outcome-based standards for quality
    o Parents must have more choice/control: Allow parents to pull children from “failing” schools

For more information, visit

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