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Media presentations of each candidate's comments about education

Page history last edited by Gabriella Sosnowski 14 years, 10 months ago



“Obama Looks to Lessons From Chicago in His National Education Plan.”'

Sam Dillon


 New York Times online


 Published: September 9th, 2008

 Accessed: October 21st, 2008

 Barack Obama has founded many of his educational plans off of his experiences with being the chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a charitable campaign that aimed to improve troubled schools in 1995. Throughout this experience, Barack took away with him many proposals on how to improve public school systems.  Barack wishes to utilize these lessons and put them to use. If elected president, Barack Obama would encourage more governmental spending for public schools.   Barack Obama asserts that under his presidency, the government would spend around $18 billion dollars a year to fund early childhood classes and teacher recruitment. Because Obama feels that “student achievement is highly dependent on teacher quality,” he would hold teachers to very high standards and instate performance pay so that teachers are held accountable for the success of their students. Barack has a large variety of educational advancements he would like to initiate, whereas his opponent, John McCain, is only focusing on a couple of new plans because he does not want to spend more on education than we currently are.

This article seems to be slightly biased toward Obama. Praises for Obama outnumber the criticisms made about his educational reform plans and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. Also, even though the article states that the Chicago Annenberg Challenge was unsuccessful and promoted little change in public schools, the author still tries to depict Obama as an experienced and well-prepared candidate for educational change. The article focuses little on McCain’s educational plans, except when it mentions that McCain is not interested in spending more on education then we already are. This makes it seem like McCain is not as concerned about education as Obama is, which is not the case. McCain just feels that we should work to improve the system that we already have instead of throwing money into new programs and initiatives blindly. Furthermore, the only other critic the author provides of Obama’s educational reform is when he mentions Obama’s association with William Ayers. – GABRIELLA SOSNOWSKI





“Obama Education Reform Efforts Gets an ‘F’”

 Mark Impomeni


 AOL news online


 Published on October 20th, 2008

 Accessed on October 21st, 2008

  Obama’s efforts to improve public education in Chicago (through the Chicago Annenberg Challenge) have recently stirred some controversy. Barack Obama worked with William Ayers, leader of the former terrorist organization, the Weather Underground, throughout the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.  Though Obama often refers to the Annenberg Challenge to support his experience with managing education, Paul Vallas, the Chicago Schools Superintendent from 1995 to 2001, claims that Obama and Ayers did very little to improve public schools at the time. In fact, Vallas declares that Obama’s plans often interfered with Vallas’ attempts at regulating curriculum. Furthermore, Obama and Ayers did not implement much control in regards to how money from the Challenge was spent. Though they spent over $49.5 million dollars, very little of that money found its way into the classroom.  Also, the schools that Barack Obama and Ayers funded showed little to no difference in academic achievement, thus their work was largely ineffective.

 This article is entirely against Barack Obama, though it makes no mention of John McCain. The article only provides criticisms against Barack Obama’s association with William Ayers and work for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. The author argues that Barack Obama is not qualified to administer education because of his work with William Ayers throughout the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. However, this is not entirely true. Though the two worked on the Challenge simultaneously, they rarely interacted with one another and their relationship was hardly personal. Additionally, the article only offers attacks on Obama’s work for the Challenge and provides no opposing viewpoints. - GABRIELLA SOSNOWSKI




Obama, McCain discuss college issues at debate


“Candidates put forth proposals on affordability, accessibility”

Jeremy Ogul


The California Aggie online




 Published October 17, 2008


 Accessed on October 22 2008

 Although the topic of higher education has been somewhat neglected in the upcoming 2008 election, it was discussed briefly both presidential candidates during the recent debate at Hofstra University. Obama stressed the importance of college affordability.  In his opinion, students shape the future of the American society. Obama criticized McCain’s economic advisor for his reference to college students as an “interest group.” He proposed that, if elected, he would make the first 4,000 of a college student’s education free if they participate in some type of community service. McCain proposed making student loans more available as well as modifying financial aid qualifications due to recent inflation.  McCain also wants to remove earmarks for higher education.



 This article is mostly impartial with only a slight inclination towards Obama. Because the article provides an equal amount of rebuttals from both candidates, it is hard to determine whether or not the author is biased. However, because the author provides a quote at the end which infers that McCain sees college students as solely an “interest group” (whereas Obama sees them as “the future”) without offering a proper rebuttal from McCain or one of his supports, the author leaves the reader with a “bad taste” for McCain. Therefore, the article is slightly partial towards Obama.- GABRIELLA SOSNOWSKI



"Election issues: Education is lost in campaign shuffle."


Staci Hupp


The Des Moines Register Online





Published on October 22nd, 2008

Accessed on October 23rd, 2008

Education has not been an issue that has been largely discussed by either presidential candidate.  With a war in Iraq and an economic crisis on our hands, education has lessened in importance over the last few months. However, many educational philanthropists feel that this topic is critical and needs to be addressed, especially since the reforms for President Bush’s No Child Left Behind act failed to set off in 2002. Each candidate has their own stance on how to improve the No Child Left Behind act as well as how to change the educational system in general. Obama believes that the No Child Left Behind act focuses too much on math and reading, due to requirements schools must on state tests. Obama wants to give schools the opportunity to cover subjects of equal importance, such as science. Additionally, Obama plans to spend around $18 billion dollars on boosting teacher’s pay and ranks, increasing the number of teachers in urban areas, creating more charter schools and instating governmental child care centers and preschools. McCain, on the other hand, wants the No Child Left act to focus on how much school’s tests grades improve over time instead of how many students meet the state requirement each year. He feels this will take into account key variables and disadvantages that exist amongst schools. Furthermore, McCain doesn’t plan on spending more money to reform education, but changing how the government uses and mandates the money that is already invested on education.  McCain’s plans include making it easier for parent’s to get involved with school systems, paying teachers by merit and not seniority and more tax breaks for college students.

This article is unbiased. It represented both candidates in an impartial way and also provided both sides of the stories.  Both Obama and McCain were criticized for not addressing the educational issue as much as they should be. More over, the author provided an equal number of quotes from Obama and McCain supports as well as providing both stances on educational issues. -GABRIELLA SOSNOWSKI


“Spotlight on education.”

Chloe Wiley and Whitney Jackson



Published on October  22nd, 2008

Accessed on October 26th, 2008                                      

Education has not been widely discussed by either candidate for the upcoming 2008 election.  Despite this, educators still find the educational differences between Barack Obama and John McCain to be critical. Educators are focusing on the candidate’s stances on three educational topics; early education, school choices and the No Child Left Behind act. While Barack Obama wants to increase government spending on education to $18 billion, John McCain wants to freeze governmental spending on education and instead make better use with the existing money. Barack Obama wants to spend around $10 billion to improve pre-k programs. In hopes to motivate states to make pre-k universal, Obama proposed a “Zero-to-Five” plan, where states would be granted money if they did more to encourage early learning.  McCain does not feel the government needs to put more money into early education, but instead manage the money better. On school choice, John McCain wants to provide money to parents if they want to send their children to private schools. He supports giving parents the greatest amount of choices for their children as possible. Barack Obama, on the other hand, wants to double funds to support the creation of charter schools and to make them more successful. Finally, though neither candidate has discussed the No Child Left Behind act much, for it is somewhat controversial, both candidates view it as a practical baby step.  Though John McCain has said little on the subject, Michael Johnson, an Obama education adviser, has stated that Barack Obama plans to “create a way to measure student growth without punishing teachers and students in the lowest-performing schools.” Barack Obama would also like to expand the assessments on tests to include more subjects than just reading and math.

This article is not biased at all. Each topic has a separate section for each of the candidate’s stances. Furthermore, the article incorporates criticisms from educators who are against a few of the stances of both Barack and McCain. For instance, one educator suggests that Barack’s plans for early education will not fix any of the problems for higher education. On the other hand, McCain was criticized by some on his stance on educational vouchers and his vague proposals to improve the No Child Left Behind act and much of his general education positions.-GABRIELLA SOSNOWSKI



“In Debate, Education Advisors to McCain and Obama Focus on K-12 Issues.”

Paul Basken

The Chronicle of Higher Education online


Published on October 22nd,2008

Accessed on October 27, 2008



After all three 90-minute presidential debates, there was only one questioned that focused on education.  The moderator of the debate at Columbia University, Sarah H. Fuhrman, asked each of the candidate’s education advisors how each candidate would “preserve access to higher education.” Lisa Graham Keegan, the education advisor for John McCain, responded that John McCain would like to do more to help high school juniors decide what college to attend.  This might include instating programs that would help juniors to connect with either training, work or a college or university. Furthermore, McCain would like to combine most federal higher education grant programs in order to create more money for students. Linda Darling-Hammond, the education advisor for Barack Obama, responded that Obama would like to offer a $4,000 tax credit to help students pay for college. This credit would enable almost all qualified young people to attend a public college or university. Obama would also like to raise the amount of the Pell Grant “to more closely approximate what people actually pay for college.”

This article does not really advocate one candidate over the other, but perhaps suggests some disdain for one of John McCain’s propositions. Before introducing McCain’s proposal to combine federal higher education grant programs, the author states “Similar to what President Bush has tried unsuccessfully for several years…” This indicates a slight prejudice against McCain, though nothing concludes that the author prefers Obama over McCain.- GABRIELLA SOSNOWSKI







The articles that I have been finding have been relatively unbiased. It appears as if the people who were interviewed or quoted in a majority of the articles, such as “Spotlight on Education” and moderately in “Obama Looks to Lessons From Chicago in His National Education Plan,”are passionate educators who aren’t interested in challenging a certain political party but are genuinely concerned about what each candidate, whether democrat or republican, will bring to the educational table. Despite this, there seems to be a slight lean towards Obama. I think this may be because educators who are passionate want to see the American government invest a lot of time and money into its students.  Since the No Child Left Behind act left much to be desired, educators want to know exactly what will be done to improve the act as well as education in general. Therefore, Obama may be the better candidate. Education has played an important role in his life and he is planning on investing over $18 billion on it. Additionally, Obama wants to try and make attending a college or university an opportunity for every student, regardless of their financial capabilities. On the other hand, John McCain has been rather vague about his educational plans and does not want to invest any more money on it. Because of this, educators might feel that education is not an important issue to McCain.

The one article that I did read of Obama only criticized his education stance because of his dangerous association with William Ayers, a former leader of the domestic terrorist group, the Weather Underground . While Barack Obama did work on the same educational board as William Ayers, factcheck.org concludes that their relationship was hardly dangerous and largely impersonal.








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