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More K-12 on the Campaign Trail

By Alyson Klein — October 19, 2010 1 min read
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The midterms are almost here! And education is starting to come up in some of the senatorial debates.

Out in Nevada, Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, and GOP challenger Sharron Angle discussed the federal role for K-12. You can view their exchange on the Democratic-leaning Huffington Post. Angle said the Education Department makes “one-size-fits-all policy” that benefits no one and skims off money form schools. She said that schools have gotten worse since the department was established 30ish years ago.

Reid calls the Department of Education “the Department of Energy” (oops!) but says Nevadans really rely on programs such as subsidized student loans. And, interestingly, on his campaign website, Reid isn’t so hot on the No Child Left Behind Act, saying it narrows curriculum. Keep that under your hat, it’ll be important if he’s able to hang on to his seat and leadership post. Poll numbers are pretty iffy right now though.

Also this week in Nevada, Angle did a less-than-fabulous job of courting the Hispanic demographic at a high school, when students asked why her commercials attacking illegal immigration had pictures of Latinos. She told the students that they some of them “looked Asian” to her.

Education also came up during the Kentucky Senate debate. Rand Paul, the tea-party backed GOP nominee thinks that the NCLB law was “a huge mistake.” He said he thinks that will help him get some of the teacher vote, which he said usually goes to Democrats. And Jack Conway, the Democratic nominee, said the department does good things, such as providing Pell Grants for low-income kids. He thinks NCLB needs to be tweaked. (Check out their exchange here.)

And the hottest edu-race going this midterm, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., continues to attack his opponent, tea-party fave Ken Buck for wanting to get rid of the Department of Education.

And in Washington, Sen. Patty Murray, the embattled Democratic incumbent, who has championed reading instruction and K-12 funding, has officially called out the big guns.