TheCSO thought I shouldn't bother with Paul, so I decided to compare Romney and McCain instead.
I am using the candidates' websites and only their websites to write this. Also, I'm going to tell you how easy it is to find each topic on the website as I assume there's a rough correlation between the percieved importance of the issue by the campaign and how easy to find it is.
Lots of the below is word-for-word, sometimes I've paraphrased for space.
I'm going to throw in a bonus question for each subject. For education, it's "What do they think about No Child Left Behind?"
Edwards on Education:
How easy is it to find on the website: Not very. Go to issues and it is in the third group of issues over halfway down the page.
Ideas:-Fund Universal pre-school
-$5,000+ bonuses for teachers that teach in “bad” schools
-A teachers university “West Point for teachers,” that will train high-quality teachers for “bad” schools
On “No child left behind”: Edwards will radically overhaul No Child Left Behind to live up to its goal of helping all children learn at high levels. The law today judges children based on cheap standardized tests, forces schools to narrow the curriculum, fails to accurately identify struggling schools, and imposes unproven cookie-cutter reforms. Edwards supports better tests, broader measures of school success such as measuring students' progress, and giving states more resources and flexibility to identify and reform underperforming schools.
Obama on Education:
How easy is it to find on the website: Very easy. It’s third on a drop-down menu on the front page leads to a page with a bunch of interesting but somewhat vague ideas. From there you can get a PDF with a 15-page education plan
-Create Early Learning Challenge Grants to stimulate and help fund state “zero to five” efforts.
-Quadruple the number of eligible children for Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both. Barack Obama will provide $250
million in dedicated funds to create or expand regional training centers designed to help Head Start centers implement successful models.
-Provide affordable and high-quality child care that will promote child development and ease the burden on working families. The Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program provides critical support to low-income families to pay for child care. However, the Bush administration has funded this program at a constant level, while costs per child have increased...Barack Obama will
reverse this policy and ensure that CCDBG remains adequately funded every year.
-Create a Presidential Early Learning Council to increase collaboration and program coordination across federal, state, and local levels. (I’d be amazed if something like this doesn’t already exist. -CC)
-Encourage All States to Adopt Voluntary, Universal Pre-School
-A national teacher assessment that is much more holistic than the current exams that are used for licensure. (I’m not sure about this goal, even if it were possible.)
- Barack Obama will provide $100 million to stimulate teacher education reforms built on school-university partnerships. (Sort of a teaching-hospitals model.)
- Obama will provide $1 billion in funding for grants to create mentoring programs and reward veteran teaches for becoming mentors.
-A bunch of stuff about science education, how important it is and how the above-mentioned plans will be good for it.
-Obama believes that the secret to lowering the dropout rate is to improve Jr. High.
-Requiring states to develop a detailed plan to improve middle school student achievement.
-Developing and utilizing early identification data systems to identify those students most atrisk of dropping out.
-Investing in proven strategies such as: (1) providing professional development and coaching to school leaders, teachers and other school personnel in addressing the needs of diverse learners and in using challenging and relevant research-based best practices and curriculum; and (2) developing and implementing comprehensive, school-wide improvement efforts and implementing student supports such as personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction and extended learning time that enables all students to stay on the path to graduation.
-Double the amount of money used for research into what actually works and actually helps students learn.
On No Child Left Behind: Obama will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. Obama believes teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. He will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. Obama will also improve NCLB's accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.
Clinton on Education
How easy is it to find on the website: It’s not intuitive. It's mixed in with daycare, senior care and a bunch of other "family" type issues.
-Hillary Clinton is proposing a national Pre-K initiative that would provide funding to states to establish high-quality pre-K programs. States would have to devise a plan for making voluntary pre-K services universally available for all four year olds in the state in order to participate. In addition, they would provide pre-K at no cost to children from low-income children and/or limited English homes. As states increase participation and growth their programs, the federal government will be their partner, scaling up its investment in concert with states. Hillary Clinton is committed to achieving big goals while maintaining a commitment to fiscal discipline. She will invest in providing pre-k for all children without increasing the deficit by ending the abuse of no-bid contracts and cutting the number of contractors working for the federal government by 500,000 over the next ten years through an Executive Order, saving $10 to $18 billion a year
-Early College High Schools - As President, Hillary will support early college high schools, which are small schools designed to give students - especially those who are under-represented in higher education today - the opportunity to earn both a high school diploma and an associate's degree or up to two years of credit toward a bachelor's degree. Early college high school creates a smooth transition from high school to college by integrating students' high school and college experiences. When students complete early college high school, they not only have a diploma but also have enough college credits - or even an associate's degree – to go to a two- or four-year college or university, making higher education more accessible and affordable.
There’s also a bunch of stuff aimed at at-risk youth that isn’t exactly education.
No Child Left Behind: Doesn’t mention it in any obvious place.
Currently no position paper on education
Romney on Education:
How easy is it to find on the website: Not bad. Go to “on the issues” It’s at the bottom.
-Lots of support for vouchers
-Homeschooling tax credit.
On No Child Left Behind: Governor Romney Will Improve Upon And Enhance No Child Left Behind (NCLB). He believes that No Child Left Behind has played an important role in stressing the role of accountability and high standards in improving our schools. Governor Romney will improve NCLB by giving states that meet or exceed testing requirements additional flexibility in measuring student performance. He will also improve the law by focusing more attention on individual student progress, rather than the overall progress of schools.
Analysis: Obama absolutely has the most ideas, but Clinton's seem a litter better thought out in places and she seems to have considered how she would pay for things, which is always a plus. I like Obama's idea that preventing dropouts starts in Junior High. I'm not sure about the "teaching hospitals" model of teacher training. But it's interesting.
Honorable mention: Clinton
* The rules: I’m looking for ideas, not ideals. “Recruit more math and science professionals to be teachers” is a nice goal, but unless there is a method for doing so, I’m not adding it to the list. If something seems like a newish idea, I might still include it. Don’t like the way I’m making this distinction? Start your own list.