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Obama, McCain Education Plans Compared

posted by Peter on November 4th, 2008

You may have already voted – and thank you, if you have. If not, you might be scrambling for information on the candidates in order to help make your last-minute decision. While this isn’t necessarily the best-laid plan (we hope you don’t do that while driving), we’re here to provide some information on how the next president will affect your education. Here is a look at each candidate’s plan for Federal high school and college funding. If you have anything (productive) to add, feel free to add it to the comment section below.


Obama

The Illinois senator plans to provide extensive federal funding to existing public charter schools, focusing on supporting the successful ones, while the unsuccessful ones will face being shut down.

Obama wants to reform the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program by directly funding school districts and state education programs.

Obama, like McCain, supports raising the maximum Federal Pell grant amount for low income college students from $4,050 to $5,400.

Obama, like McCain, would provide bonus pay for teachers who demonstrated exceptional student success.

Obama would eliminate the Federal Family Education Loan program, which subsidizes private lenders offering government-backed loans. Instead, he would expand the Federal Direct Loan program, routing education loans directly through the government.

Obama wants to lower college costs by offering the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which would provide a family paying for college with a $4,000 tax break. The credit would be worth liquid income for families that didn’t owe taxes, and recipients would have to complete 100 hours of community service.

Obama would require all schools of education to be accredited, as well as provide voluntary national performance assessments for new teachers.

Obama would simplify the federal financial aid application process down to a single tax form checkbox, whereby the tax information would be used for the application process.

McCain

The Arizona senator will fund new online and virtual school programs, providing parents and students with more choices of schools to attend. The idea is that the free market will allow the successful ones to grow, while the unsuccessful ones will lose students naturally.

McCain wants to reform the No Child Left Behind program by providing federally funded tutoring to help struggling students.

McCain, like Obama, supports raising the maximum Federal Pell grant amount for low income college students from $4,050 to $5,400.

McCain, like Obama, would provide bonus pay for teachers who demonstrated exceptional student success.

McCain would expand the Federal Family Education Loan program, which subsidizes private lenders offering government-backed loans.

McCain would supply federal vouchers for low-income students to attend private schools, allowing the increased competition among schools to determine which schools grow and which don’t.

McCain would simplify educational tax benefits, making it easier for families to claim them.

McCain would simplify the federal financial aid application process by consolidating the many existing programs and their administrations.

McCain would improve university research funding by eliminating earmarking, which currently takes money away from research.

Further Research

More information on the candidates’ education plans can be found at the Web sites for John McCain and Barack Obama, as well as comparison articles by USA Today and NPR.

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