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Iowa Caucuses: Change is Needed, But Even in Education?

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The results from yesterday's Iowa caucuses make one thing very clear: these Midwestern voters are demanding change.

So they gave their votes to Republican Mike Huckabee, a likable, though sometimes gaffe-prone, bass-playing former Arkansas governor who has made arts education his big school initiative.

And to Democrat Barack Obama, an African-American candidate who has billed himself as a force for change, who has dared to broach the subject of merit pay for teachers and who hasn't been nearly as fierce in his opposition of No Child Left Behind as some of his opponents. (Democrat Hillary Clinton made a passing mention of the law in her speech last night after finishing a disappointing third.)

But this is what isn't clear: While voters wanted a change in this nation's leadership, will there be the same demand for change in the direction of education, especially when it comes to federal involvement?

The entrance and exit polling in Iowa sponsored by media outlets shed no light on how education may have influenced votes—because the issue probably didn't. The top issues for Democrats were the economy, Iraq, and health care, in that order. Republicans said illegal immigration, followed by Iraq, the economy, and terrorism were their top issues. Education didn't make either list.

Update: The education blogsphere is full of Iowa reactions. Read takes by Alexander Russo, the Education Writers Association Education Election bloggers, Joe Williams, and ED in '08's Roy Romer.

2 Comments

I just visited a student in the hospital. When I told her about Michelle Obama's statement that NCLB is strangling urban education with standardized testing, my student said so sweetly, "Oooooh, she noticed."

DT.

Anyone who has read Tom Friedman's The World Is Flat is more than likely convinced that federal involvement in public education is an inevitiblitiy. It has to be. We've seen what happens when states are left to their own decisions/devices. Too many of them take the easy way out to secure whatever federal monies are available at the cost of sacraficing their children's futures.

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