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What Do Third-Party Candidates Think About K-12?

By Alyson Klein — October 10, 2012 3 min read
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Not a fan of either President Barack Obama or GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney? There are more than a dozen other options, according to Politics1, a very smart political website. Of course, third-party candidates are nothing new. But do any of them have anything interesting to say on education?

In fact, they do. Third-party candidates are calling for everything from a return to teaching the Bible in public schools to forgiving all student loans.

Here’s a rundown:

American Independent PartyNominee: Tom Hoefling, a self-described conservative political activist from Iowa.
The federal government has no “legitimate role in education, except for its employees or those who are serving in the United States military,” Hoefling writes on his campaign website.

American Third Position Party. Nominee: Merlin Miller, who formerly worked in Hollywood, and now makes his own films.
Miller wants to abolish the U.S. Department of Education. And it sounds like he’s got an interesting stance in the curriculum wars, especially when it comes to social studies. Right now, public schools are “controlled by social and cultural Marxists,” he says. If elected, he would encourage the teaching of American history in schools, with a focus on instilling “pride” in American pioneer culture. More here.

Constitution Party.Nominee: Former U.S. Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va.
Goode, who voted against the No Child Left Behind Act when he was in Congress, would eliminate all funding for the law, and scrap the U.S. Department of Education. More here.

Green Party. Nominee: Dr. Jill Stein, a physician and “environmental-health advocate.”
Stein’s ideas include forgiving all student debt, making college free, ending high-stakes testing, and no longer “using merit pay to punish teachers.” More here.

Justice Party. Nominee: Rocky Anderson, the former mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah.
Anderson’s website doesn’t include a section specifically on education, but he is a big fan of labor unions and wants to make it easier for them to expand and have a voice in government. More here.

Libertarian Party. Nominee: Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico.
Would get rid of the U.S. Department of Education, and give parents and schools much greater control over federal funding. More here.

Objectivist Party. Nominee: Tom Stevens, an attorney and political activist.
No issues section on Steven’s blog. But the Objectivist Party affiliates in Connecticut and Georgia have called for getting rid of the public education system altogether, in favor of private schools.

Party of Socialism and Liberation. Nominee: Peta Lindsay, who is currently pursuing a degree in education from the University of Southern California.
Wants to make education free and cancel student debt. More here.

Peace and Freedom Party. Nominee: Roseanne Barr, the former television actress.
Wants to forgive all student loans. More here.

The Prohibition Party. Nominee: Lowell “Jack” Fellure, a retired engineer.
Calls for teaching the “Christian history and heritage” of the country, and bringing voluntary school prayer and Bible-reading into public schools. More here.

The Reform Party USA Nominee: Andre Barnett, who served in the military and as a small businessman.
Wants to restructure the U.S. Department of Education and return control of schooling largely to the states. More here.

Socialist Party USA. Nominee: Stewart Alexander, a former talk show host and activist.
Calls for free, or low-cost comprehensive early-childhood education, increased funding for arts and music education, and support for teachers’ collective bargaining rights. More here.

Socialist Equality Party. Nominee: Jerome “Jerry” White, an activist.
Believes that everyone has the right to an education, but does not elaborate on website. Vice-presidential candidate, Phyllis Scherrer, a Pittsburgh teacher, has been critical of Race to the Top and the No Child Left Behind Act. More views here.

Social Workers Party. Nominee:James Harris, activist and politician.
Website does not include an “issues” section. Views here.

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