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Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan neglected to mention education when summarizing Mitt Romney’s five-point plan to improve the economy in Thursday night’s debate with Vice President Joe Biden. Overall, the issue was mentioned only a handful of times in a freewheeling discussion that covered domestic and foreign issues.

While summarizing his running mate’s plan, Ryan said the second priority is to “help people who are hurting get the skills they need to get the jobs they want.” He was likely referencing the broader heading of that section in Romney’s paper: “Skills to succeed.” But Romney frequently mentions the specific goal of improving schools when describing this portion of the plan– and did so in his own debate last week.

There were no questions asked about education and neither candidate tried to steer the conversation toward it. When education did come up, it was only in passing. Ryan explained how Social Security survivor benefits helped him go to college and shared an anecdote about Romney paying the college bills for a struggling family.

While debating taxes, Biden emphasized his ticket’s plan to keep tax breaks in place for parents sending their children to college. “Why does my friend want to cut out the tuition tax credit for them?” Biden asked of Ryan.

In the final moments of the night, Biden mentioned education when slamming Ryan’s budget proposal, saying it would cut federal funding for education by $450 billion. That figure is extrapolated from Ryan’s plan to cut discretionary spending by 20 percent overall. The Romney-Ryan campaign has not specified what the exact decrease to the education budget would be, but during the presidential debate last week, Romney said–for the first time–that he would not decrease education funding at all.

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Sarah Butrymowicz is senior editor for investigations. For her first four years at The Hechinger Report, she was a staff writer, covering k-12 education, traveling the country and developing an affinity...

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