A Return to Education in Politics

A few months ago I mentioned that education should be the number one topic of discussion this election season since your education level affects, literally, everything in your life and the lives around you.  And I don’t mean “education level” like whether or not you went to college, but education in that you are knowledgeable and informed on things that matter; the education of the general American public.

Since then there have been all sorts of interviews and debates that gave all sorts of opinions on the issues, education included, but I personally feel like the media’s biggest focus this year has been skewed away from education in favor of topics that garner more views and anger (border walls, anyone?).  And as the two main parties are still fighting amongst themselves for a nomination, we have to look at the importance of education for both from different starting points.  I can remember hearing more on the subject on the democratic side, as there are only two major players, but also because they seem to at least have education reform near the forefront of their campaign promises.  Plus they haven’t had to constantly battle for media attention from one particular outlandish and outspoken candidate by giving soundbites and quotes on other subjects, if only to keep their name in the media circuit.  I remember hearing slightly less on the subject on the republican side for that very reason – the attention continually gets placed on other more controversial issues instead.

So if you really want to know what your candidates think about the future of education in this country, you’ll have to do a bit of digging around, which on the one hand is kind of good as it means taking an active interest in the political machine (increasing your education, as it were).  But on the other hand, it means that this election season is failing at putting education at the forefront of the general public interest as a whole.  While this may partially be the fault of the capital M “media,” since it’s what drives public interest in the first place, it’s also on the candidates’ shoulders for not realizing just how important education really is with regards to everything else.  Yes, there are still many other factors when it comes to running a country that deserve attention, but I still maintain that most of the issues that stem from those factors start from the education (or a lack thereof) on the matter.  Not everyone deals with the inner workings of our foreign policy or how the national budget will be balanced, so not everyone has to be fully educated on the subject, thus making its importance in media coverage less relevant.  How can we expect the entire population to know what’s the best method for dealing with something like foreign affairs when they know so little about how it works?  There are only so many topics you can cover, politically, before you start to lose attention, so why not make the most of your time by discussing what truly matters; something that everyone in the country does have to experience, like general public education?

This isn’t to take away from the other major topic of discussion this election season, immigration, since how it’s maintained is also incredibly important for the future of the nation, just in a different way.  However, when it comes down to it, education becomes an important issue here too, since immigrants’ active presence in the country means they have to have a decent general education on how things work as well, right?  And other topics like government spending or military action are equally important to for politicians to be transparent about since it’s our tax dollars that fund them.  I just don’t think we need such extensive coverage on how certain individuals plan to deal with it.

Perhaps this is more of a problem with how elections are dealt with as a whole, but what I’m hoping for is that we collectively (candidates, voters, and the media circuit) can shift our focus to the issue that truly matters most, which is how to secure and improve the future of this country with proper education and educational resources.  It’s up to all of us to remember that without a solid educational foundation, we won’t get very far in the long run regardless of who is in charge.

Tracey Woodard
Tracey Woodard
tracey.woodard@franklinfound.org

<p>Our Senior contributor Tracey Woodard graduated in 2010 from Bucknell University with a BA in English – Creative Writing and Theater. An advid believer in the importance of public school education, she uses a mix of personal and learned experiences to express her thoughts on today’s most pressing education issues. She currently resides just outside of Philadelphia, PA.</p>

  • Fuzziness

    I agree 100% Tracy! We dont take care of our kids and they will end up watching every other country pass us by.