Jon Huntsman Unveils Education Reform Plan, New Hampshire Too Close to Call

Not that anything else the Jon Huntsman campaign has done up into this point has made sense, but apparently he chose the day before the New Hampshire primaries – a “do or die” primary for him to see if he’s even going to make it out of the state – to unveil a new education reform plan.

Much like his economic and financial reform plans, it’s bold and full of everything conservative would want. It kind of makes you wonder why he wouldn’t have been talking aboot it all last year BEFORE people started voting. He may have gained traction in the polls and New Hampshire might actually be too close to call (I know, you’re shocked my headline was misleading).

Some bulletpoints of note:

Introducing Market Forces into Education System. Governor Huntsman supports an “all of the above” approach to education. The federal role should be acting as a clearinghouse for information and ideas, empowering states and local communities to take ownership of education reform. To this end, the federal government should attempt to minimize its role in trying to deliver outcomes, and instead encourage the growth of a more innovative educational system.

Creating Transparency. The key first step toward deregulation of education is introducing competition and transparency; free markets work best when given access to clear information. Jon Huntsman’s administration will establish meaningful and transparent national standards benchmarked to the world’s highest achieving educational systems and let states compete on how best to get there. Governor Huntsman believes that American students should be setting international standards, not aspiring to meet them. Our current standards are superficial, embarrassingly unambitious, and confusing for teachers.

Real Accountability. The federal government shouldn’t be in the business of running local schools or picking winners. President Huntsman will make sure schools, their administrators, and their boards are held accountable through data-driven measures of processes and achievement. Incentives matter, and communities whose schools fail to meet Common Core benchmarks should not be rewarded. A possible consequence could be restricting access to federal resources. President Huntsman will also use his bully pulpit to encourage adaptation of a parent trigger wherein a significant number of concerned parents could induce state action. On the other hand, principals who demonstrate sustained innovation and success should be rewarded and held up as models for other educators.

Department of Education Reform. The Department of Education has grown too large and powerful, and is restricting the flexibility of states and local communities to implement education reforms. Massively scaling down the department will clear the way for necessary reforms at the local level and free up precious resources.

Acknowledging Hard Truths. Public policy must be driven by reality. We need an education system that is designed to equip all students to be informed citizens and allows all children to maximize their God-given talents. Governor Huntsman believes that every child has a genius within; the challenge lies in empowering it. In preparing our youth to join an able citizenry, our education system should both provide generous opportunity for students to achieve their highest level of performance, while simultaneously acknowledging economic realities and making graduates both “college” and “career” ready. We need to reevaluate our “at all costs” emphasis on higher education for everyone in an environment where that emphasis only disadvantages individuals in the long run.

I have been waiting for any of the candidates to bring up Education Reform in any of the debates, or to speak on it in detail on the campaign trail. And while some reporters/blggers from the right are feeling a “Huntsman surge” on the ground, apparently the only way I may get to hear it is if he mangaes to not come in behind Ron Paul in tomorrow’s primaries.



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