The centerpiece of John McCain's talking about education policy is the need for more "choice" (i.e., vouchers) but as voucher advocate Neal McCluskey is noting there's really no there there:

All that McCain’s plan offers in terms of specifics is that he’d reapportion federal money slated for attracting, rewarding, and training teachers; somehow give principals more control over their budgets; and expand the use of online education. Oh, and importantly(though most voters, concerned primarily about their own kids, probably won’t care), McCain would increase funding for D.C.’s school-choice program.

This is just really odd. You can believe whatever you want about vouchers and still obviously a proposal for a modest increasing in funding for a pilot voucher program in the District of Columbia is neither here nor there in terms of really improving education in America. This basically reflects what I was saying the other day about Grand New Party -- if you're committed to the kind of tax and budget policies that McCain is committed to, it's just not possible to put meaningful domestic policy reforms on the table. I don't think vouchers are the solution to the problems in American schools, but whatever the solution is -- even vouchers -- would require some real fiscal muscle to actually change anything.

Photo by Flickr user lkbm used under a Creative Commons license

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.