2012: The Future of Education

Frani O’Toole Staff Writer   Here at Latin our education is our job; our lives are dedicated to it’s rigorous demands, we spend much of our day in the “workplace”, we rely on it’s resources to fulfill our needs and ambitions. Therefore, with employment stealing much of the spotlight in the upcoming election, I believe it is important to acknowledge the jobs of us students, totaling over a quarter of the population. Considering the vital use of the internet in informing and publicizing one’s platform, I chose to visit many of the leading Republican candidate’s official websites in hopes of learning about their ideas regarding my livelihood as a student. What I found from many candidates was surprising; not only does every candidate wish to severely cut the budget for the Department of Education, many even wished to abolish this department. In addition, some website’s focused much more on supporting “homeschooling” than discussing issues about public and private education. On his website, candidate Ron Paul refers to himself as the “homeschooling champion”, which is a title contested by candidate Rick Santorum— a homeschooling parent himself— who runs on the educational slogan “putting ‘parents first’ is how best we put ‘students first.’” While I acknowledge the option of homeschool education, as an “employee” of the standard schooling system, I find their lack of focus on our traditional education system somewhat alarming. Ron Paul’s platform also dictates that “no nation can remain free when the state has greater influence over the knowledge and values transmitted to children than the family does. And the truth is, no big government spending program can or will solve our nation’s education problems.” The latter part of the quote refers to his belief that the Department of Education should be abolished, a point which fellow candidates Rick Santorum and Rick Perry agree with and Republican front-runner Mitt Romney formerly supported. While not every candidate takes this stern approach, all of them believe the Department of Education needs severe budget cuts. Newt Gingrich promises that if elected he would “shrink the federal Department of Education and return power to states and communities”; Jon Huntsman claims the “Department of Education has grown too large and powerful”; Rick Santorum says that ideally “the federal role in education is very limited.”  However, in some cases, it was a lack of opinion that shocked me. Republican front-runner Mitt Romney completely overlooked the issue of education, by focusing his website on the issues surrounding health care, jobs, foreign policy—not education Nelson Mandela, a brilliant world-leader and humanitarian, once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” With that in mind, I urge these potential future-presidents to realize that education impacts us, the future of foreign policy, equal rights, health care, national security, the environment, and America. Links to the candidate’s website: http://www.mittromney.com/ http://www.ricksantorum.com/ http://www.ronpaul2012.com/ http://jon2012.com/ http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p20-564.pdf  ]]>