Find your next job fast at the Jan. 28 Virtual Career Fair. Register now.
Federal Federal File

Panel: Don’t Expect Education to Rise as Campaign Issue

By Mark Walsh — March 11, 2008 1 min read

Education won’t be any more prominent in the general-election campaign than it has been during the presidential primaries, said two of the three panelists at a symposium at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington last week.

“This is the first time since 1980 or ’84 that education has not loomed large, or at least largish, as a presidential campaign issue,” said Chester E. Finn Jr., the president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and a former Department of Education official under President Reagan. “If any of today’s candidates thought education was a winning issue, or even an important issue, I think we’d know it by now.”

William A. Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who was an adviser to President Clinton, said, “Not only has education not been a big issue in this presidential year, it’s not going to be,” with “peace and prosperity” issues dominant in the campaign.

Mr. Finn said people may have grown generally exasperated with talk of education reform in presidential elections. Or they may have figured out “that education is no longer a winning issue because when all is said and done, a president doesn’t have that much leverage over the schools,” he said.

The dissenter was Marc S. Lampkin, the executive director of Strong American Schools, which is running the “ED in ’08” campaign to push education as an election issue. (“Effort for Education as Campaign Issue Fights for Traction,” Dec. 5, 2007.)

While polls have shown that education is, at best, in the middle of the pack as a voter concern this year, the group’s own surveys show that “education is the number-one issue for Hispanics,” he said.

Panelists at the March 3 event, held a day before Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York won the Democratic primaries in Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas, discussed the effect the election might have on the No Child Left Behind Act.

Mr. Galston, who worked on the 1994 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (of which NCLB is the 2001 version), said, “If there is a Democratic president, I don’t think that NCLB will survive in anything like its current form.”

The law faces better odds if Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., wins, the panelists said.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 12, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Branding Matters. Learn From the Pros Why and How
Learn directly from the pros why K-12 branding and marketing matters, and how to do it effectively.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
How to Make Learning More Interactive From Anywhere
Join experts from Samsung and Boxlight to learn how to make learning more interactive from anywhere.
Content provided by Samsung
Teaching Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table With Education Week: How Educators Can Respond to a Post-Truth Era
How do educators break through the noise of disinformation to teach lessons grounded in objective truth? Join to find out.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

BASE Program Site Director
Thornton, CO, US
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Director of Information Technology
Montpelier, Vermont
Washington Central UUSD
Great Oaks AmeriCorps Fellow August 2021 - June 2022
New York City, New York (US)
Great Oaks Charter Schools
Director of Athletics
Farmington, Connecticut
Farmington Public Schools

Read Next

Federal How Biden's Data Mandate Could Help Schools Navigate the COVID-19 Crisis
An executive order directs the Education Department to collect data on issues like whether schools offer in-person learning.
4 min read
President Joe Biden signs executive orders after speaking about the coronavirus, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, right, in the State Dinning Room of the White House, on Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington.
President Joe Biden signs executive orders after speaking about the coronavirus, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, right, at the White House, on Jan. 21.
Alex Brandon/AP
Federal Early Education Department Appointees Have Links to Jill Biden, Teachers' Unions
President Joe Biden's 12 appointments have links to the players who could exert the most influence on the new administration's K-12 policy.
4 min read
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden hug as they arrive at the North Portico of the White House on Jan. 20, 2021.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden hug as they arrive at the North Portico of the White House on inauguration day.
Alex Brandon/AP
Federal Biden Launches New Strategy to Combat COVID-19, Reopen Schools
The president plans a more centralized strategy that includes broader vaccine efforts, more data on the pandemic, and new school guidance.
5 min read
Public School 95 in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn is one of many schools in New York ordered to close due to a flare-up of coronavirus cases in the area on Oct. 5, 2020.
Public School 95 in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn is one of many schools in New York ordered to close due to a flare-up of coronavirus cases in the area on Oct. 5, 2020.
Kathy Willens/AP
Federal Opinion Blessings and Best Wishes, President Biden
Rick Hess takes a moment to offer President-elect Biden his best wishes and to reflect on Inauguration Day.
1 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty