The No Child Left Behind Act, which requires public schools to meet test standards to receive federal funding, was signed into law in January 2002 and was the first major legislative victory for the Bush administration. It remains controversial as do measures to provide funds for students who want to choose private schools. Read the stances of the presidential candidates below. The views of the vice presidential candidates are shown where available.
John McCain
Stated during GOP primary debates: "We need more charter schools. We need vouchers where it's approved by the local, state school boards. We need to have, clearly, home schooling if people want that We need to reward good teachers and find bad teachers another line of work."

No Child Left Behind (NCLB):
Voted for NCLB. The McCain campaign, on its Web site, states: While NCLB has been invaluable in providing a clear picture of which schools and students are struggling, it is only the beginning of education reform.

Title II Funding:
Proposes devoting 5 percent of Title II funding - a provision of the Higher Education Act passed in 1998 to increase accountability and development of teachers - to states to recruit teachers who graduate in the top 25 percent of their class or participate in alternative teacher recruitment programs. Said he would devote 60 percent of Title II funding for incentive bonuses for high-performing teachers located in challenging environments, teach subjects like math or science, or demonstrate student improvement. Proposes directing the first 35 perfect of Title II funding from federal coffers toward the school so principals and teachers can focus on the specific needs of their schools.

Technology and learning:
Supports expanding virtual learning by reforming the "Enhancing Education Through Technology Program." Said he would target $500 million in current federal funds to build new virtual schools and support the development of online course offerings for students. Said he would allocate $250 million to support states that commit to expanding online education opportunities. Proposes offering $250 million to help students pay for online tutors or enroll in virtual schools. Said low-income students would be eligible to receive up to $4,000 to enroll in an online course, SAT/ACT prep course, credit recovery or tutoring services offered by a virtual provider.  Watch McCain speak about education
Sarah Palin
Stated during the vice presidential debate October 2, "Education in America has been in some sense in some of our states just accepted to be a little bit lax, and we have got to increase the standards. No Child Left Behind was implemented. It's not doing the job though. We need flexibility in No Child Left Behind."

Barack Obama
Advocates ensuring access to high-quality early childhood education programs and child care opportunities, recruit well-qualified and reward expert, accomplished teachers. Make science and math education a national priority. Reduce the high school dropout rate and empower parents to raise healthy and successful children by taking a greater role in their child's education at home and at school.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB):
Says the overall goal of NCLB "is the right one but the law has significant flaws that need to be addressed."

Early childhood education:
Proposes investing $10 billion a year to increase the number of children eligible for Early Head Start, increase access to preschool, provide affordable and quality child care and increase coordination across federal, state and local levels. Proposes to increase the child and dependent care tax credit.

College tuition:
Proposes scholarships that will cover four years of undergraduate or two years of graduate teacher education, including high-quality alternative programs for mid-career recruits in exchange for teaching for at least four years in a high-need field or location. Advocates schools dedicated to enabling "teachers to learn from expert practitioners in the field." Says he would provide $1 billion in funding to create mentoring programs for teachers.

Teacher service scholarships:
Proposes an annual $4,000 tuition credit that will cover two-thirds of the tuition of an average public college and make community college completely free in America. Says he would expand the Pell Grant and lower interest rates on the existing federal student loan programs.
 Watch Obama speak about education
Obama and McCain: Key Senate Votes from 2005 through 2008

Higher Education Act

July 31, 2008 -- The U.S. Senate passes a bill to amend and extend the Higher Education Act of 1965 by a vote of 83-8. The bill is intended to help bring down the cost of college.

McCain: Did not vote
Obama: Did not vote

(Sources: CQ Weekly; U.S. Senate Legislation Database)
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The issues that make up American politics have many voices. Here are a few governmental organizations, interest groups and companies from across the political spectrum that are actors in the debate over education. * CNN does not endorse external sites.
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