Here's an interesting topic. We all know that the big teacher unions bankroll BHO, but he in turn spouts a competitive version of ed reform

On the issue of education reform both presidential candidates, President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, tend to have more in common than on many other issues. There are some important differences, though, on student loans for college and the Common Core Standards Initiative.

Barack Obama
On K-12 education, Obama's primary initiative was the Race to the Top program. This program incentivized states to reform their K-12 education system by setting up a grant competition. States competed for grant money by changing their education system to match Race to the Top criteria. Part of the criteria required states to adopt the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which set benchmarks for what students should learn at each grade level.

Race to the Top builds upon No Child Left Behind, the K-12 education initiative of Obama's predecessor. Some Republicans, such as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, have praised Race to the Top while some traditionally Democratic constituencies, such as teachers unions, have been critical of the program.

On Obama's campaign website, though, he also touts that he has given states waivers on some No Child Left Behind mandates.

In the area of college education, Obama issued an EO that would cap federal student loan repayments at 10% of income beginning in 2014. (currently law that allows borrowers to cap payments at 15% of income.) He also signed a two-year extension, for 2011-2, of a tax credit for higher education expenses that was originally passed under George W. Bush.

Additionally, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a.k.a. the stimulus bill, made a number of other investments in education, such additional funds for Head Start, a federal early-childhood education program, and community colleges.

Mitt Romney
Romney has praised Race to the Top, but has also been critical of the Common Core. His education platform also places emphasis on greater choice in education.

Romney's education agenda can be found in a May 23, 2012 white paper, and in an interview at the Sept. 25 "Education Nation" Summit in New York.

At the Summit, he noted that while he was governor of Massachusetts, his state had the best scores in math and English for fourth and eighth graders. He also praised his predecessors for laying the groundwork that led to that accomplishment. While in office he passed reforms that required students to pass an exam in order to graduate and provided tuition free scholarships to any student who graduates in the top 25 percent of their school and attends a state college.

If elected Romney wants to reform funding for special needs and low income students such that the funding follows the student and can be used for any school. In order to help parents with choices, he also wants to implement a simple grading system, A through F, for schools.

On Race to the Top, Romney said he likes the fact that it encourages innovation and that it ties teacher pay to performance. The part Romney said he does not like is the Common Core.
Contact:, @NappNazworth (Twitter)

That turns out to be a window dressing compared to the version prepared by the main institution...

Boss’ "Education Reform" -- A Lesson Plan for War Thursday, March 14, 2013 by a Contributor
The PLP has repeatedly warned workers of coming wars leading to a major war to decide which imperialist(s) will control the world. We said that the US ruling class will use its state power to prepare and try to mobilize the population for war.

The Council on Foreign Relations’ (CFR) Independent Task Force (ITF) on US Education Reform and National Security issued its 96-pg report on March 12. The key ruling-class think tank directing foreign policy influencing government officials who are instrumental in their plans, appointed a Task Force headed by Condoleezza Rice, Bush’s Secretary of State and a key figure in both Iraq wars, and Joel Klein, ex-chancellor of New York City’s schools.

The rulers are trying to seize an opportunity created for them by the right-wing "education reform" (ER) movement. It has so far successfully

  • mobilized parents and others to attack unionized public school teachers,
  • demanded use of standard test scores to produce evaluations of teachers,
  • popularized the call for charter schools and closing of public schools, and called on state governments to institute a "common core curriculum."

The ER movement is responsible for right-wing superintendents like Michelle Rhee in Washington, D.C. and Cami Anderson in Newark.

Based on this ER platform, the ITF proposes using the common core curriculum standards to ensure that students are mastering the skills and knowledge necessary to safeguard the country’s national security, i.e.,

  • military, foreign service and defense industry skills;
  • to sharply push patriotism in civics classes and other curricula;
  • to sharpen competition between public, charter and private schools; and
  • to institute a "national security readiness audit" in order to censure those educators not falling in line with the bosses’ plans.

This audit will also inculcate nationalistic and competitive ideas in students’ and teachers’ minds. All this enables the ruling class to institute a higher level of social control in the schools and prepare youth for war with one or more of its main competitors in the world.

Wrapping its rhetoric in the specter of threats to the "leadership role" in the world, the ITF report gives away its real agenda early on. It says explicitly that the US Education Crisis Is a National Security Crisis (page 7). Its five distinct threats include U.S. economic growth and competitiveness, physical safety, intellectual property, global awareness and unity and cohesion (pp. 7-13).

The citing of these "threats" reflects the current rise of China and other competing imperialists, whose goal is to replace the US in its current number one position. The ITF says US workers lack the skills necessary to enable businesses to turn back these challenges by maximizing productivity per worker, bringing the bosses higher profits.

They bemoan the reality that 75% of U.S. youth -- particularly black and Latino -- are not qualified to join the military. This is mostly because many don’t graduate from high school or are not otherwise prepared to be soldiers in today’s high-tech armed forces.

The report further criticizes schools for not producing enough grads proficient in foreign languages who can work as diplomats (spies,) Special Forces (e.g. SOF.Gator) and overseas agents for US corporations. The ITF also cites the growing education/mobility gap i.e. really just a product of the bosses’ economic crisis on top of their racist and anti-working-class policies. They believe this growing inequality will impair workers’ loyalty and willingness to die.

The ITF fears that this trend could cause the United States to turn inward and become less capable of being a stabilizing force in the world. This view represents the thinking of the most powerful capitalists, for whom stability is a codeword for continued political and economic domination.
Article originally appeared on The Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party (

That's your education reform.