Education Editorial: Gov Wilder's Class

Governor Wilder recently had two guests to speak to his VCU class…the gubernatorial candidates in the November election. They each shared their platforms and then engaged with the students on topics ranging from money to marijuana.

Governor Wilder was the consummate ringmaster prodding his students and the candidates. At one point, a candidate turned to Governor Wilder and said, "How would you answer that question?" Governor Wilder responded, "I'm not running for office. You answer it."

During the "after glow," one of the students described a candidate as appearing to be a parent attending a career day. One was linear and the other was likeable. Only one of the candidates even asked the students for their support or their votes.

The class was the kind of event that could have only been orchestrated by the engaging and authentic Governor Wilder. As much as any time in recent history, the two candidates are different in almost every way.

This is no less obvious than in education. While one is pro school choice the other is pro labor. Both support accountability but one wants to do it without tests. One wants to contain costs, and the other wants to increase salaries.

While both speak of concern for student debt for college, neither offers any ideas about containing the costs of higher education.

Between now and November, it might be helpful for voters to hear ideas about making higher education more affordable…not simply increasing debt but decreasing costs! It would also be encouraging to hear candidates saying that not everyone needs to go to college. Have you called an electrician, a plumber, or carpenter recently?

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