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Education to have prominent role in presidential debates


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The first presidential debate will take place on Wednesday. Education is likely to be an important topic for both the presidential and vice presidential debates.

Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, said President Obama has been talking about the importance of education from “pre-K to graduate” since his 2008 campaign.

Van Roekel said that during his first term, President Obama revamped the student loan program, and he saved 400-plus jobs in education. The president also increased Pell Grants, which provide need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students and some post-baccalaureate students.

“I know what he’ll stress very much: the importance of education to the individuals who are pursuing their dream, to our economy about growing jobs and for our nation,” Van Roekel said.

Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, has talked about superior public education in countries like Finland.

Van Roekel said these remarks show that Romeny is either oblivious or does not care about education’s future because various factors in countries, such as Finland, Singapore and South Korea, are very different.

The support and collaboration of unions are strong in those nations, according to Van Roekel. These countries do not focus on high-stakes standardized tests, and they do not label schools or have charter schools.

“They invest in early childhood education, an absolute must in our future,” Van Roekel said.

In reference to recent nationwide strikes and overall morale of the education system, Van Roekel said that blame is not the answer.

Van Roekel stressed the importance of uniting as a nation behind education.

Cassandra Vangellow edited this story online.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

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