Republicans Look to Turn Conversation to Education

NYT FDMaggie Haberman 8/19/2015

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Good Wednesday morning from Washington. Democrats are quietly counting their Iran votes, and President Obama remains on vacation, hoping things stay as unexciting as possible. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida is getting some attention for his throwing arm, while several other Republicans are heading to New Hampshire to talk education.

The Republican presidential contest will shift its debate from immigration to education policy on Wednesday, as several candidates gather in New Hampshire to discuss the future of schools.

The news site The Seventy Four, which was created by former television journalist Campbell Brown, will hold a first-of-its-kind public forum featuring about a third of the extensive Republican field: Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Bobby JindalCarly Fiorina, Scott Walker and John R. Kasich. The event can be viewed live here.

Ms. Brown has become an advocate of overhauls to the education system, including changes to the teacher evaluation systems that are part of union contracts. For Mr. Bush, education policy has been a signature issue over the last decade, and the forum gives him a chance to highlight those credentials.

But within the Republican contest, education policy has become a fraught topic, particularly around the Common Core education standards. Mr. Bush favors those standards, which many conservative voters oppose.

Unlike in a debate format with a 60-second response time, Mr. Bush may have more of an opportunity to explain his views. As for Mr. Christie and Mr. Walker, who both had high-profile fights with the teachers’ unions in their respective states, the format will most likely let them showcase their claims to the education battle.