Education secretary: 'We are at a fork in the road'
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks on the state of education at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on October 2, 2012.
October 2nd, 2012
05:32 PM ET

Education secretary: 'We are at a fork in the road'

by Lindy Royce-Bartlett, CNN

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) - Education Secretary Arne Duncan believes that America's decision on Election Day will greatly impact the state of education.

"The choice facing our country today is pretty stark.  I believe we are at a fork in the road.  Some folks see education as an expense government can cut in tough economic times," Duncan explained during a luncheon at the National Press Club Tuesday afternoon.  "President Obama and I see education as an investment in our future - the best investment we can make.  Especially - especially in tough economic times."

To get feedback and "take the pulse of people after nearly four years in office," Duncan recently went on a cross-country bus tour themed 'Education Drives America.'  After taking part in over 100 events in twelve states, Duncan says it is clear that "the real work of improving schools doesn't happen in Washington but in cities and towns all across America-where parents, teachers and community leaders work together toward a common goal."

During Tuesday's Q&A session, Duncan was asked what the biggest difference between an Obama and Romney administration in education and he did not mince words.  "I think the difference is pretty clear and frankly it's stark and the country's going to have its say on it: That we fundamentally see education as an investment, and they fundamentally see education as an expense."

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Arne Duncan • Issues • Policy • Voices
September 27th, 2012
01:10 PM ET

Education as a campaign issue

Lisa Sylvester reports on the differences between candidates Obama and Romney on education.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Issues • Policy • Politics • video
My view: Obama, Romney need to know one thing about early childhood education – start over
August 29th, 2012
03:39 AM ET

My view: Obama, Romney need to know one thing about early childhood education – start over

Courtesy Phyllis BretholtzBy Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Nancy Carlsson-Paige is professor emerita at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she taught teachers for more than 30 years and was a founder of the University’s Center for Peaceable Schools.  A strong advocate for public education, Nancy speaks and writes on a variety of education and parenting topics. Her most recent book is ”Taking Back Childhood: A Proven Roadmap for Raising Confident, Creative, Compassionate Kids.”

(CNN) - Here’s what I would say to the presidential candidates (in case they ask me) about what we need to do to give the best education possible to our nation’s youngest members.

I would start talking in a pretty loud voice to make sure they can hear:  You are going in the wrong direction with policy-making for early childhood education! Please back up and start over.

And this time, put early childhood educators at the head of the policy-making table.

Most classrooms for young kids today are driven by a myriad of developmentally inappropriate standards-based tests and checklists. Policy mandates are causing a pushdown of academic skills to 3, 4 and 5 year olds that used to be associated with first-graders through third-graders. Young kids are expected to learn specific facts and skills at specified ages, such as naming the letters and counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s.

This has led to more teacher-directed “lessons” and a lot more rote learning by kids who try to learn what’s required but don’t really understand.

300,000 education jobs lost, White House urges investment
Students and teachers protest education cuts in Los Angeles in May 2011.
August 18th, 2012
06:01 AM ET

300,000 education jobs lost, White House urges investment

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - Budget cuts are forcing districts to scale back on teachers and staff, resulting in larger class sizes and fewer school days, according to a White House report released Saturday.

More than 300,000 education jobs have been lost since the end of the recession in June 2009, said the report, which was prepared by the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Domestic Policy Council and National Economic Council.

"Think about what that means for our country. At a time when the rest of the world is racing to out-educate America, these cuts force our kids into crowded classrooms, cancel programs for preschoolers and kindergarteners, and shorten the school week and the school year. That's the opposite of what we should be doing as a country," the report quotes President Barack Obama from an address in June.

As a result of the cuts, the national student-teacher ratio increased from 2008 to 2010, from 15.3 to 16, the report said, reversing nearly a decade of gains. Typical class sizes are larger than the ratio because it includes teachers for students with disabilities and other special cases.

See where the candidates stand on education

Some schools are also shaving the number of days students spend behind their desks by shortening the school week, school year and trimming programs like preschool and kindergarten, the report said.


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Filed under: 2012 Election • Policy • School funding • Teachers
July 27th, 2012
02:12 PM ET

Louis Jones – iReport Debate: Education

(CNN) – "As a 17 year-old in the St. Louis metro-east area, I would really like to know who the candidates are going to respond to questions on how to improve the public education deficit we have in america."
– Louis Jones, iReporter

CNN PRODUCER NOTE 17-year-old student separatefrom says, 'The reason why I rank education above all other current issues is because I feel as if there is a deficit in valuable knowledge that can be applied to a setting outside of a school setting.' He cites a general lack of funding for education, elementary school not inspiring students enough and the need for a 'nationally implemented plan' to improve teaching methods.
– zdan, CNN iReport producer

Hear what others are saying about education, and contribute your own iReport.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • iReport • Issues • Voices
Education groups weigh in on Wisconsin recall results
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker greets supporters at an election-night rally June 5, 2012 in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
June 6th, 2012
01:47 PM ET

Education groups weigh in on Wisconsin recall results

by Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) - Educators have been front-and-center in the politics of Wisconsin as the battle between state workers unions’ collective bargaining and Gov. Scott Walker’s fiscal measures took shape last year.

The day after the recall election in which both the governor and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch retained their seats, education interests are weighing in.  Here’s a sampling of what two education organizations are saying:

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Policy • Politics • Voices
June 5th, 2012
07:41 AM ET

Class size debate gets political

Does class size matter? Christine Romans breaks down the data behind Mitt Romney's comments and speaks to the 2010 Teacher of the Year, Sarah Brown Wessling.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Issues • Practice • video
Team Obama expands education offense against Romney
May 25th, 2012
04:08 PM ET

Team Obama expands education offense against Romney

by Ashley Killough, CNN

(CNN) – President Barack Obama's re-election campaign continued to hound Mitt Romney Friday over his position that smaller class sizes may not be a key component for quality education.

Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, where Romney stopped the day prior to talk with teachers at a charter school, leveled heavy charges at the candidate, saying his policies were "out of touch," "misguided" and "backwards."

"He certainly left an impression here in the city that he has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to education," Nutter said on a conference call with reporters Friday organized by the campaign.

The mayor also described Romney's meeting in Philly as a "drive-by visit" due to its short length.

When Romney stopped at a local school Thursday, he pointed to studies that countered common thought that smaller class sizes contributed to increased learning for students.

He cited a 2007 analysis by the McKinsey Global Institute that argues "evidence suggests that, except at the very early grades, class size reduction does not have much impact on student outcomes," based on the 112 studies the group examined for the report.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Policy • Politics
Opinion: Confronting challenges of American education, 'civil rights issue' of our time
In a speech Wednesday, Mitt Romney proposed dramatically expanding school choice for low-income and disabled children.
May 25th, 2012
02:44 PM ET

Opinion: Confronting challenges of American education, 'civil rights issue' of our time

Editor's note: Pedro Noguera is a professor at New York University and director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education. He is editor of "Unfinished Business: Closing the Achievement Gap in Our Nation's Schools" and author of "The Trouble With Black Boys ... And Other Reflections on Race, Equity and the Future of Public Education."

By Pedro Noguera, Special to CNN

(CNN) – For the past 25 years I have been working as an educator, researcher and policy advocate.

I am also the parent of four children who have attended public schools.

In each of these roles I have tried to improve public education and advance the educational rights of children, particularly those who have historically been poorly served.

Given my background, I was pleasantly surprised by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's recent assertion that education was "the civil rights issue of our time".

Romney is only the most recent politician to connect changes in education to civil rights. Similar remarks have been made by President Obama as well.

Typically, the politicians who make such declarations link it to a call for reform.

Romney has chosen to connect his declaration to the issue of choice and vouchers.

The question is: Why does Romney believe that simply by promoting school choice the problems that plague public education in America will go away?

Read the full story from the In America blog
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Filed under: 2012 Election • In America • School choice • Voices
May 23rd, 2012
03:35 PM ET

Romney calls for more school choice

by Rachel Streitfeld, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Calling the nation's falling educational standards "the civil rights issue of our time," on Wednesday Mitt Romney proposed dramatically expanding school choice for low-income and disabled children.

Romney told members of the Latino Coalition gathered at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that millions of American children were "getting a third-world education," adding: "America's minority children suffer the most. This is the civil rights issue of our era."

The GOP hopeful said low-income and disabled students should be able to choose to attend any public or charter schools in a voucher-like program, with federal aid following them to their chosen schools.

Campaign advisers told reporters the plan would not require new federal spending. They did not discuss the plan's effect on schools largely supported by that same federal aid.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Policy • Politics • School choice
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