Mitt Romney stirred a sleepy August news cycle into action on Saturday with his introduction of Congressman Paul Ryan as running mate. The choice awakened the blogosphere, recharged the mainstream media, and enlivened policy wonks across the political continuum. By allying with an unapologetic champion of smaller government—and deep budget cuts for practically everything that Washington has undertaken—Romney has rewritten the narrative for the rest of this election cycle. As Rick Hess notes, “selecting Ryan signals that the Romney campaign, by choice or by necessity, is going to wind up talking ideology.” It also means that education could yet play a more central role in this election than previously assumed. Consider Obama’s initial response, listing numerous education programs (including Head Start and college aid) that would be cut under the Ryan (now Romney-Ryan) budget. Hess further explains: “Education is where Obama can most cleanly argue that he’s for smart ‘investments’ and not just more borrowing and spending”—and where he can highlight bipartisan support for Race to the Top and his stance on charter schooling. The economy is still the diva of this election cycle. But education—which has been a sixth-tier understudy to date—now has a greater chance of seeing some stage time during the fall campaign.

SOURCE: “Ryan’s VP Nod: What’s It Mean for Education?,” by Rick Hess, Rick Hess Straight Up!, August 13, 2012.

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