You should, naturally, check out Sara Mead's take on John McCain's recent education speech and the policy proposals therein. She notes, among other things, that his ability to get behind meaningful reforms is constrained by the fact that he doesn't want to propose any net increase in funding (thus, he thinks school choice will solve all our problems, but doesn't propose doing anything to boost school choice for the vast majority of Americans who don't live in DC).
I would only extend that to note that once again his nonsense budget figures are being constrained by his unwillingness to propose the sort of specific, massive cuts in domestic spending that are implied by his combination of tax and defense policies. If you keep the Bush tax cuts in place, and add new tax cuts, and continue an aggressive posture in Iraq, and increase the overall defense budget, then we need to cut domestic spending a lot. And the McCain campaign has proposed doing this in various hand-wavy ways but doesn't really put the rubber to the road anywhere. He doesn't want to gut federal education spending, which is nice, but he would more or less have to gut it -- along with everything else -- to implement his big picture ideas.