Though education has not figured prominently in the campaign, John McCain and Barack Obama have their proposals. Each falls squarely within their respective party’s established political framework: Boiled down, Mr. Obama believes that schools require more resources and federal support, while Mr. McCain wants to introduce to the education system more choice and accountability.
School choice. Mr. McCain would pursue education reforms that institute equality of choice in the K-12 system. He would allow parents whose kids are locked into failing public schools to opt out, whether in favor of another public school, a charter school or through voucher or scholarship programs for private options. Parents, he believes, ought to have more control over their education dollars. Teachers’ unions and school administrators find none of this amenable.
Mr. McCain supports merit pay for teachers and would establish a bonus program for high-performing educators, as well as devote more funds toward attracting successful college graduates into the field. He would also give principals more control over their schools, including spending decisions, instead of district school boards.