Kerry, Presidents and Education

Harry has a summary of Kerry’s education platform. It’s quite interesting and I added my two cents to the comment section about merit pay.

Should you base your vote for president based on his education platform?

No. The national government only provides a fraction of every education dollar. Something like 6%. Most money for schools comes from state and local coffers. (Shame on you for not voting in your local school board election.) And during war times, the president’s attention and focus is rightly elsewhere.

Yes. Though the money is small, the president does have a great deal of influence over education through the bullly pulpit. He and his secretary of education go around the country talking about an issue. The press picks it up. The thinktanks and activists pick it up. The states pick it up. And then it starts to happen. He rolls the flake of snow down the mountain and when it gets to the bottom, it is a large ball of vouchers.

That’s what Reagan and Bill Bennett really did with school vouchers. It was a non-issue before Reagan came to office. There was maybe one article a year in the Times on vouchers prior to 1980. Moynihan mentioned it once or twice. But when Reagan came to office, he took on vouchers, which was a liberal issue in the late 1960s. He like vouchers because it fit in well with his libertarian philosophy and belief in the virtue of private sector. The Catholic church actually opposed vouchers at that point. But Reagan and Bennett refused to let the issue die and the press coverage of vouchers skyrocketed. (I have a good graph on this in my diss.)

So, go read Harry’s post and add that information to the mix, when you make your pull the lever in November.

2 thoughts on “Kerry, Presidents and Education

  1. Although the money contributed by the federal government is relatively small, the money that must be spent in order to obtain that money is relatively large (figures?? not sure… ) The federal government can withhold education dollars from states/districts that don’t implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and No Child Left Behind. IDEA, while very worthwhile as a law, is very expensive to implement. It basically mandates the entire special education program.


  2. Fiske Guide To Colleges 2006 (Fiske Guide to Colleges)

    First published more than 20 years ago, this leading college guide to more than 300 schools has been the indispensable source of information for thousands of students and their parents. Each college is rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars on Academics, Soc…


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