Although the presidential fight between Barack Obama and his opponent Mitt Romney has been almost universally focused on jobs and the economy, education is another campaign talking point that voters are paying close attention to as November approaches. On Thursday (August 23), a nationwide conference call was held by the Obama campaign to shift the focus away from jobs for a moment and take Romney to task for his stance on education.
Opening his education report by saying his current stance is an “economic necessity,” Obama wisely listed how his efforts contrast greatly with Romney in the report and adds a new wrinkle to the debate. Democratic strategist Melody Barnes and Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson helmed the conference call, laying out how President Obama intends to reinforce the economy by making a stronger commitment to education.
Since day one, President Obama has set our nation on a forward course through stronger schools and better teachers. But as we’re seeing out on the campaign trail – and through his record as governor, Mitt Romney would take us backward and undo all the progress we’ve made for millions of African-American students, said Barnes.
Barnes was direct in her criticism of the Romney-Ryan ticket, most specifically on Romney’s differing stances on educational measures such as private-school vouchers and the size of classrooms and prepping young students for college. With a focus on the ills of the well-meaning but ineffective No Child Left Behind law, Obama’s plan is most certainly geared toward all American students, but there is an even deeper investment in African-American students considering the educational disparity between minorities and Whites.
Rep. Wilson, a former educator, spoke from the unique perspective of someone who has seen the inner workings of the classroom and highlighted what needs to be changed:
The President believes education has to be a commitment from cradle to career, especially for the African-American community…. His college tax credit is helping millions of students and families pay for college – last year it helped more than 9 million students and families save on tuition. That’s going to help 200,000 more African-American students go to college over the next decade. As our economy recovers, we need a President who understands that education is an investment in our future – an economic necessity that should be within the reach of every family, not a luxury for just a few, said Rep. Wilson.
When asked in what precise ways President Obama intends to assist African-American students, especially those residing within urban centers, Barnes was clear that the administration is committed to showing equity between poor and affluent districts.
The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans was also mentioned on the call and within the report, further cementing that commitment to Black students nationwide. Rep. Wilson reinforced an earlier point referencing Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign, which is geared toward improving student performance in critical STEM classes nationwide.