The Notebook has a content-sharing arrangement with Education Week, where this article originally appeared.
by Andrew Ujifusa and Alyson Klein
Education policy and funding—from common standards and college access to the prospect of "doomsday" budget cuts—have been a steady theme in this year's presidential campaign, even as more specific K-12 debates lighted the political landscape in various states.
And with the strategic balance in Congress in play, along with the makeup of 44 state legislatures and the fate of numerous education-related ballot measures, the Nov. 6 elections could have a lasting impact on the direction of precollegiate policy.
While the economy has commanded attention in the televised face-offs between President Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, both candidates have emphasized their credentials and records on education, Mr. Obama through his initiatives over the past four years, Mr. Romney through his record as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007. Their speeches and debates illuminated sharp differences on the federal role in education.
Education spending, in particular, has emerged as an issue in the presidential race, with Mr. Obama contending that his rival would support big cuts to K-12, higher education, and early-learning programs.
"Cutting our education budget, that's not a smart choice, that will not help us compete with China," Mr. Obama said in his Oct. 22 debate against Mr. Romney in Boca Raton, Fla., which was centered on foreign policy.
The president's criticism stems mainly from a budget blueprint put forth by Mr. Romney's running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the chairman of the House Budget Committee. Mr. Romney has called the proposal "marvelous," although he did not explicitly endorse every individual aspect of it. That plan would slash domestic discretionary spending—the broad category that includes education—by roughly 20 percent.