Education is crucial to the future of the US, both as a gateway to the middle class and to secure a competitive edge in the global talent pool. Both Democrats and Republicans are concerned that rising tuition is putting college out of reach for too many people – potentially blighting the country’s future prosperity as higher education expands rapidly around the world. Both parties are concerned by international comparisons that show the academic performance of US high school students is relatively mediocre. But when it comes to solving these problems, there are marked differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
In schools, the president has pushed for increased accountability for teachers, by tying teacher evaluations to students’ results in standardized tests. He has promoted charter schools, which are state-funded but independently run, giving parents an alternative to traditional public schools.
Romney supports both these goals, but is also keen to provide federal cash for school vouchers that would educate children in private or religious schools at public expense.