Yesterday, for the first time during the 2008 presidential campaign, John McCain issued a set of specific policy proposals for improving the country’s failing education system. Speaking at the NAACP’s annual meeting in Cincinnati, the presumptive GOP nominee promoted vouchers for parochial, private, and charter schools; alternative certification programs that would lower the barriers to teaching; school-level funding of merit pay for teachers; the continuation of federal funding for tutoring services; and federal funding for virtual schools and online learning.
You’d think all this would be worth some attention. Not only has McCain been basically mum about his education platform since he declared his candidacy, but his 2008 plans mark a significant, move-to-the-middle departure from the relatively bold positions he advocated in 2000. But no. Many of the major print outlets’ write-ups of McCain’s speech were relegated to those outlets’ blogs. And the ones that gave column inches to the speech often focused either on the kind words McCain had for Obama at the outset of his speech (breaking: McCain said something nice about the competition!) or about the tepid reception that met McCain’s appearance at Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Center: