New Insider Report: What Does Paul Ryan Mean for Education?
The edu-world is abuzz with news of Congressman Paul Ryan’s selection as GOP vice president nominee: What does Governor Romney’s pick actually mean for education?
Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute suggested that Ryan’s entrance into the race could thrust education to the forefront of election debates. The Obama campaign has already been quick to highlight that Ryan’s budget plans include education cuts, an area where the President has called for more “smart investments.” Meanwhile, Whiteboard senior advisor Andy Rotherham notes that the entitlements in question in Ryan’s budget will far overshadow education.
Here at Whiteboard, we asked our Education Insiders what they thought. A majority of Insiders decided that the choice was not significant for education policy. In one Insider’s words, “This election is turning on other issues and if Romney-Ryan were to win the budget fight will be about bigger fish.” It could be that Ryan’s pick is most significant in telling us what not to expect for education, as one Insider noted “…[Ryan’s] experience with federal budget and deficit issues reinforces that we shouldn’t expect federal funding increases for education.”
Insiders did agree, however, that Ryan may have a thumbprint on student financial aid. “[The VP selection] could be good for Pell in the sense that it would finally force a conversation about fixing the program,” commented an Insider. While another Insider warned that, “He’ll want to cut federal subsidies (for everything) and use more private sector participation.”
Interestingly, in a new PDK/Gallup poll of the American public’s views on education, 60 percent of respondents said balancing the federal budget was more important that "improving the quality of the education system." That’s a noticeable change from when Gallup asked the question in 1996, and just 25 percent chose to balance the budget.
While Ryan may not ultimately have an impact on education, there sure seems to be a robust debate around the topic. Be sure to check out the full Insider report for more interesting commentary.
Jenna Schuette Talbot is a senior associate at Whiteboard Advisors.