Ask either presidential campaign about any fraught issue in the ideologically riven realm of education policy and ye shall receive an answer in the form of a question or a "hold that thought"—mutterings about "school choice" and "results!" notwithstanding. For now, anyway, all we have is a consistent pledge from Donald Trump to "end Common Core," which is likely impossible to execute several years into the standards' strained implementation. And, on the other hand, from Hillary Clinton we get a trumped up history of engagement with children's rights advocacy, a philosophically trendy movement in the years before a younger Hill's transition to corporate lawyering.

Given a shallow glance, the Clinton camp's ed cred checks out: After all, the nation's largest union, the National Education Association, endorsed Hillary Clinton last fall, a significant snub to labor-loving Bernie Sanders. Eleven months later, when pressed to answer where Clinton stands on contentious questions of school choice for low-income families and expanding public charter schools, however, all that NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia could tell reporters on Tuesday afternoon was what went on back when her organization was weighing its endorsement. At a panel discussion of the education policy and the election, sponsored by the Education Writers Association, she told us: "I said, 'So what's the plan?' And she answered me with questions." This was a promising approach, Garcia said, because it was new and different. "That's what they didn't do in 2002 when they passed No Child Left Behind. They never asked an actual educator, 'How will this work?'" (Er, Hillary's campaign website lists her support for No Child Left Behind in 2002 as elemental proof that effective education reforms await us under another Clinton.)

The Trump education policy, meanwhile, sounds like an awkward drum roll. This is, possibly, "education week" in Trump land—the big plan might hit the headlines any minute now. Perhaps he'll even announce it en México. As Education Week reported Monday, "Republican nominee Donald Trump's presidential campaign has tapped Rob Goad, who has worked for Indiana GOP Rep. Luke Messer in Congress, to work on school choice issues in the real estate executive's bid for the White House." Based on the recent appointment, we can guess the education plan might hew to the party platform by favoring a plurality of state standards and might also reflect Jeb Bush's positions on Common Core and school choice, which Rob Goad worked on. But based on the candidate's record of flexibility and a proven preference for his own wonderful whim—well, who the hell knows.

In the absence of campaign promises to guide our projections, we might look to the cyclical history of the last century's systematic public education reforms, from the time of the Scopes trial up to today's tension over testing standards. Could it be that however the chips fall come November, we'll witness a consensus-driven, decentralized, reform-fatigued shift away from arrogant, federally ordained, expertly crafted education policy? At least for the time being, given that it's what the people want? To temper our hopes, there also persists a looming likelihood that with the loss of a Republican majority, the Senate HELP Committee's deciding voice in the interpretation of federal education policy will be . . . Bernie Sanders.