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In a Word, 'Teachers' Are Center of Debate

One of our Web producers created a word cloud from Tuesday night's debate between Lisa Graham Keegan of the McCain campaign and Linda Darling-Hammond of Obama. To see the debate and the session I moderated after it, you can register here.

Take a look at the word cloud generated with Wordle and see what jumps out:


The words of the night were "teachers" and "kids." You have to look closely to find "No Child Left Behind," "standards," or "assessments." You need a magnifying class to see "accountability."

The word cloud captures the fact that Keegan and Darling-Hammond had their longest and sharpest exchange over teachers.

"The alternatives will become mainstream and I think they should," Keegan said about Teach for America and Troops to Teachers.

Later, as the two concluded their time to question each other, Darling-Hammond said about alternative routes: "I don't think that builds your profession."

"Why is a TFA teacher not a teacher?" Keegan responded. "Of course, they are."

No matter who is president, this debate will continue as Congress turns to reauthorizing NCLB. The question of how to recruit, prepare, pay, and retain teachers—and make sure they're in classrooms where they're most needed—will be the one that receives the most attention of lawmakers.

Note: The word cloud excludes "senator," education," and other words that came up often but don't provide much of an indication of the focus of the debate.

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