Obama on education
Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has made news by coming out in support of Charter Schools, for which he would double federal funding to $400 million; he points out that many in his party oppose charter schools due to the influence from teachers unions. Obama also said that, while he is skeptical of school vouchers, “he wouldn’t allow his skepticism to stand in the way of doing something to help them. … You do what works for the kids.”
While teachers unions do much good for both teachers and students, they often oppose experimentation, reform, or any changes to existing education institutions–and they strongly oppse merit-based pay and the removal of underperforming educators, two other ideas that the Illinois Senator has indicated he supports. Barack Obama has demonstrated courage by openly disagreeing with an influential constituent of the Democratic Party’s base that often acts like the only “reform” they’ll consider is more money.
I think Obama would be more likely to get these sorts of education reforms through, since Republicans will likely (grudgingly) support him and he could drag enough Democrats along to pass reform measures. I support efforts to see how well charter schools, school vouchers, and market forces can work in improving education, whether public or private. Obama is correct in his non-dogmatic willingness to try new things until we find out what works. FDR would be proud.