From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: So I'm sure you've heard by now that Sen. John McCain held a BBQ this weekend that was largely viewed as a veep audition. At least three of the folks in attendance could help McCain on education issues: - Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, who served as that state's commissioner of education under Gov. Jeb Bush. He helped to implement the state's ambitious education agenda, which some conservatives see as a national model. As governor since 2007, Crist has supported performance pay for teachers. - Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisina, who served on the House ...


From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: So apparently it's not just my editor and fan of NBC's "The West Wing" Mark Walsh who noticed that the 2008 presidential election bares an uncanny resemblance to the final two seasons of the multi-award winning drama. The Washington Post had a piece on the similarities this week. Apparently, it's not a total coincidence, as the TV show's writers had Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois specifically in mind when they created Rep. Matt Santos of Texas, played by Jimmy Smits. But one major (and lamentable) difference: In the fictional campaign, education was actually a major ...


Maybe. Read union watchdog Mike Antonucci's post here, in which he reveals that the National Education Association's PAC Council approved a "conditional" endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama. You can't really get more conditional than the NEA's conditions. They're endorsing Obama only if he captures the required number of delegates to win, or if Sen. Hillary Clinton drops out of the race. They don't even appear to be endorsing for the general election, just for the Democratic primary! In other words, they'll endorse Obama only when he's the last Democrat standing. Wow. That's really going out on a limb....


From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: Now that he's beefed up his education team, Sen. John McCain is actually ... talking about the No Child Left Behind Act. In an interview with Essence magazine, McCain says that the law, while flawed, was a step in the right direction in terms of closing the achievement gap. The whole article is illuminating, especially in terms of McCain's strategy with African American voters. But here's a salient exchange: McCain: We also have to act at the federal level, update the No Child Left Behind Act. The No Child Left Behind Act was a good beginning, ...


From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, planned to introduce a bill today...on education! The measure, which is sponsored in the House by Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., is aimed at better coordinating the myriad of programs geared toward improving math and science education. For instance, it would establish an Office of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education within the U.S. Department of Education. The political message behind the legislation could be a three-for-the-price-of-one for Obama. It could paint him as an advocate of good government, a proponent ...


From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican nominee, has new rules for lobbyists who work with the campaign. McCain's campaign won't employ registered lobbyists, and volunteer advisers can't work on the subjects on which they lobby. I'm wondering how that will affect his education policy team, which includes some registered lobbyists. For instance, David Crane, who, according to the Fordham Foundation's Mike Petrilli, heads up McCain's education policy team. He's a registered lobbyist and the president of Quadripoint Strategies. His clients have included the U.S.Chamber of Commerce, according to the liberal-leaning media ...


From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: Kentucky and Oregon hold their Democratic primaries today. And I have to say, I'm sorry we didn't get to the Blue Grass State earlier in the election cycle, when it might have actually mattered more. The state has a storied history of education redesign, dating back nearly two decades with the Kentucky Education Reform Act. And there's a great debate going on there right now about whether to revamp the state's assessments or leave in place the current system, which includes student portfolios. It's the kind of in-the-weeds, local issue that typically doesn't get addressed ...


From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia endorsed Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois today. Byrd oversees the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, so he'll be working closely with the next president (whoever that may be) on education spending. At this point in the race, the endorsement is mostly meaningful in that it puts another superdelegate into Obama's column. Still, looking much further down the road, the endorsement could be a positive sign for relations between the appropriations committee and the White House under an Obama administration. That could only help the bottom-line for ...


From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: Presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona is (finally) working on an education issue. Well, kind of. Some U.S. senators, led by Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat, and Sen. John Warner, a Republican, both of Virginia, are trying to craft a "new GI Bill" that would offer a generous new college access benefit to many veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill would pay for four years (!) of tuition at a public university, plus a living stipend and money for books and other supplies, Webb's spokeswoman, Jessica Smith, told me ...


From contributing blogger Alyson Klein: So the big news is that former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, the one-time Democratic presidential candidate, is expected to endorse Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois for president tonight. In terms of the nomination, this might mean that Edwards' 60-some delegates will go to Obama - a seemingly small number, compared to the 2,026 needed to win the nomination, but every little bit counts in this close Democratic contest. It might mean that some of the anti-poverty programs that Edwards supported will become part of Obama's platform. That included a number of education ...


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