No matter what your politics, if you want education to be a big part of the 2012 presidential race, then Republican Tim Pawlenty officially jumping into the GOP ring on Monday is a good thing.
The former two-term Minnesota governor has a long resume of education policy activism. He’s an ex-chairman of the Education Commission of the States, a former co-chair of Achieve, and a STEM guy.
In 2008, he wanted to tie all teachers’ pay to student test scores, and not just those participating in the “Q-Comp” program created during his tenure as governor.
He was an early supporter of the common-standards push led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, but did not want his state to adopt the math standards because he felt Minnesota’s were stronger.
One of his key advisers on the presidential campaign trail is Phil Handy, a Florida education and political insider, and a voucher proponent.
For a glimpse into what Pawlenty’s education platform will look like, check out this recap of a campaign stop he made in Iowa earlier this year. He talked of the need to improve public education but also provide more choices, such as charters and homeschooling, in order to help break up a “lethargic monopoly.” He also talked about the need for more productivity in higher education.