AEI Study: How to Make Education a Key Issue in the 2012 Elections

Could education become a key issue in the 2012 presidential campaign? In a new AEI study, former Senate education staffer Alexander Russo takes a look at the efforts of Ed in '08. While the advocacy group’s unprecedented effort to make education an important issue in the 2008 presidential campaign is widely perceived as a failure, Russo explains why the initiative provided valuable lessons and a lasting impact. More importantly, it provided many examples for those looking to popularize education in the 2012 election.

In addition to encouraging the creation of new powerful education advocacy groups, Ed in ’08 demonstrated that :

  • State and local networks can effectively adapt national education messages and disseminate them to education stakeholders.
  • There are advantages to using experienced political campaigners.
  • Harnessing the power of 501 (c) (4) organizations, allows one to engage more freely in high-profile political activity. 
  • Advocates must push for reforms beyond the accepted norms of centrist policies. Even to the point of making lawmakers uncomfortable.

Alexander Russo, the founder and host of the education blog "This Week in Education," is the author of Stray Dogs, Saints, and Saviors: Fighting for the Soul of America's Toughest High School (Jossey Bass/Wiley, 2011). He can be reached at [email protected] or through [email protected] -- 202.862.5904.

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