WASHINGTON - On the campaign trail during the past week, President Barack Obama talked a lot about education.
Making a bid for young voters and their parents, Obama accused Republican rival Mitt Romney of planning to slash aid to college students. Romney hit back by noting that Obama, a Democrat, has not been able to rein in the soaring cost of tuition.
But the differences between the two candidates on education policy extend far deeper than a war of sound bites over college costs. In an echo of their broader philosophical divide, Romney and Obama split sharply over what role the private sector should play in the US education system.
"There are very, very meaningful differences in philosophy," said Phillip Handy, a businessman who was chairman of the Florida Board of Education for six years and now advises Romney on the subject.