Folks, I've gotten at least one reader (who I can identify!) who disagrees with my suggestion that Bush wins on education. Her credentials are far better than mine ... being an education major working with schools and the like. Nevertheless, I thought I'd present my view of why I prefer Bush's approach (the catch phrase is 'prefer' ... I don't think either candidate is a star, but I think we've given up on stars among our pols!)
FIrst, my 2 cents on the 2 candidates' approaches to problems. Bush is an action-minded man ... not super smart but action is what he thrives on. (Dennis Miller, appearing on the Jay Leno show, commented that what he likes about Bush's war on terror is that he doesn't overthink this issue ... 'I think he just wakes up every morning, lands on his 2 feet, scratches his balls and says, "Let's kill some f**king terrorists')
What that means is that Bush is gonna get a good share of his decisions wrong. Some would argue the war in Iraq is an example, as are many others. He has no patience for being caught in nitty-gritty ... he's gonna change the system, damnit! But that is precisely why he will also make some stupendous changes to our systems. He won't accept status quo, and he won't accept sitting by a flawed system.
Kerry, on the other hand, is a tweaker. He understands complexity ... is far smarter ... yadar yadar ya. I suspect he will make the 'right' decision more often ... or rather avoid wrong decisions. But he isn't the type to reform systems. He'll tweak here and there, but stand by failed systems because it's more convenient and because major reform is beyond his cautious mindset.
Then, the issue comes down to which style you think is right ... there is no right answer ... just like stock investing styles. This is part of why I have not yet supported either candidate ... because what we truly need is a blend of the two.
OK, back to education! The reality is that Bush has increased education funding dramatically, but overall funding has probably reduced due to the budget crunch in many states. This is unfortunate, but it is a recession. But the real reason why I think Bush scores over Kerry is the recognition that our education system is in need of major repair, not tweaking ... the decision to impose standards of teaching ... and the voucher program.
The voucher program? That raises your eyebrows, I'm sure. Well, the single biggest cause for bankruptcy in the US is people buying houses they can't afford to be in the "good" school district. The voucher program will eliminate that! Also, I believe when taxpayers are funding education, they should have the choice of the fabric of their school. So, for example, a family who wants to send their kid to a Catholic or a Hindu or a Muslim school should not have to spend exclusively out of pocket, while their tax dollars apparently pay for their education. Needless to say, we need to have standards of performance for these schools, but this is not an impossible task.