Once again Jay Mathews is looking for any possible education plans from the many different Presidential candidates and comes up very short. Pulling what he could from the candidates literature and web sites combined with the responses that the AFT received to their questionnaire, Mathews uses his weekly online column to summarize the candidates most emphasized idea and their most unique idea.

"Most unique idea", of course, is a relative term. There really isn’t much that’s new and different in any of these education-related pronouncements and that’s part of the problem. Politicians are forever throwing out sound bites about how our education system needs fixing, that our kids are "the future" and "deserve the best" and often that they themselves will be the "education" President (or governor or mayor or…). What they never seem to figure out is that it’s the structure of the system that needs a major overhaul. With local control of schools, however, there’s little that the federal government can do about altering the traditional public education system. Even imposing a massive testing requirement and layering on lots of threats does little or nothing to attack the fundamental problems.