Education Policy in the Next Administration

When a new president takes office in January 2009, he will have a chance to substantially reshape education policy. The No Child Left Behind Act is currently due for reauthorization by Congress, offering the incoming administration an opportunity to put its stamp on key federal education legislation. State level policy developments, including current state fiscal challenges and the growth of state pre-k programs, provide further education challenges and opportunities.

The two parties' presumptive nominees, Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, have offered very different visions for education policy under their potential administrations. Yet these proposals, and the differences between them, have received relatively little press coverage or media attention-even as 83 percent of voters tell pollsters that education is either extremely or very important to their votes for president.

On July 24, the New America Foundation will host a discussion of the candidates' education proposals with education experts who helped shape those agendas. Lisa Graham Keegan is former Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction and education advisor to John McCain. Jon Schnur was Senior Advisor on Education to Vice President Al Gore and Special Assistant to U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, and has advised Barack Obama on education since he became a U.S. Senator. Keegan and Schnur will describe the candidates' education agendas, discuss the outlook for education policy in the next administration and congress, and respond to questions from a moderator and the audience.

Richard Colvin, Director of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Columbia University, moderated the discussion.