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Hillary Clinton on Education

Secretary of State; previously Democratic Senator (NY)


OpEd: Common Core recycled from Clintons in 1980s and 1990s

Common Core recycles a decades-old, top-down approach to education clearly laid out in a letter sent to Hillary Clinton by Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, immediately after Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential victory. Marc Tucker has and is now advising the Obama Administration's US Department of Education about how to implement the Common Core Standards and Race to the Top programs.

Marc Tucker and Hillary Clinton apparently had plans to have national standards, national tests, national curriculum, and a national database way back in the 1980's. The "Dear Hillary" letter, written on Nov. 11, 1992 by Marc Tucker, lays out a plan "to remold the entire American system." This is now the blueprint for the Common Core plan.

Tucker's ambitious plan was implemented in 1994 in the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, and the School-to-Work Act. These laws establish [using] "national standards" and "national testing" to cement national control.

Source: William Taylor Reil in Times-News (Allentown PA) , Jun 8, 2013

OpEd: Common Core recycled from Clintons in 1980s and 1990s

Common Core recycles a decades-old, top-down approach to education clearly laid out in a letter sent to Hillary Clinton by Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, immediately after Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential victory. Marc Tucker has and is now advising the Obama Administration's US Department of Education about how to implement the Common Core Standards and Race to the Top programs.

Marc Tucker and Hillary Clinton apparently had plans to have national standards, national tests, national curriculum, and a national database way back in the 1980's. The "Dear Hillary" letter, written on Nov. 11, 1992 by Marc Tucker, lays out a plan "to remold the entire American system." This is now the blueprint for the Common Core plan.

Tucker's ambitious plan was implemented in 1994 in the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, and the School-to-Work Act. These laws establish [using] "national standards" and "national testing" to cement national control.

Source: William Taylor Reil in Times-News (Allentown PA) , Jun 8, 2013

Parents are a child’s first teachers

This has to start in the families. This is what I’ve done for 35 years. We’ve got to do more to give families the tools and the support that they should have so that they can be the best parents. They are a child’s first teachers. I want to commend the 100 Black Men, because I worked with the 100 Black Men in New York to help create the Eagle Academy, a high school for young African-American and Latino men. We also need more involvement from the community. We all have a role to play.
Source: 2008 Democratic debate in Las Vegas , Jan 15, 2008

Get more teachers into hard-to-serve areas

I support school-based merit pay. We need to get more teachers to go into hard-to-serve areas. We’ve got to get them into underserved urban areas, underserved rural areas. The school is a team, and it’s important that we reward that collaboration. A child who moves from kindergarten to sixth grade in the same school, every one of those teachers is going to affect that child. You need to weed out the teachers not doing a good job. That’s the bottom line. They should not be teaching our children.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada , Nov 15, 2007

Hillary emphasized education reform without political agenda

Bill singled out education as his top priority. Hillary had a strong had in this “call to action for American education.” She even wrote her husband’s tagline, that “politics must stop at the schoolhouse door.”
Source: For Love of Politics, by Sally Bedell Smith, p.269 , Oct 23, 2007

We have not yet reached consensus on education reform

Q: Has the debate so far in this campaign paid enough attention to education?

A: I don’t think it has. In the debates that we’ve had, education is an afterthought. But when I go out and campaign all over the country, it’s really on the minds of people. And I’ve outlined a very vigorous education agenda starting with universal prekindergarten, changing No Child Left Behind, making college affordable, finding programs for training and apprenticeship for kids who don’t go to college.

Q: Why has education not come along as fast as other societal changes?

A: I think it’s a combination of a lot of factors. Everybody is an expert on education because we all went to school. And therefore, local control means that there are millions upon millions of opinions in America about what we should do. I don’t think we have reached a consensus that reflects the reality today. Our public school system worked so well for America for so long. We’ve got to make sure it works as well for our future.

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate , Sep 13, 2007

1986: HIPPY program empowers parents as kids' first teach

Home Instruction for Parents and Preschool Youngsters was developed in Israel in 1969 to help new immigrants prepare their young children to succeed in school. HIPPY empowers parents as their children's first teachers by giving them the tools, skills, and confidence to work with their children at home. The program is designed to help those families coping with poverty.

In 1986, Hillary helped establish a HIPPY program in Arkansas. Hillary wrote, "When we brought HIPPY into rural areas and housing projects in Arkansas, a number of educators and others did not believe that parents who had not finished high school were up to the task of teaching their children. Not only did the program help kids get jump-started in the right direction, it also gave the parents a boost in self-confidence." In 1988, HIPPY USA was established as an independent NGO headquartered in New York City. There are now about 146 HIPPY programs in twenty-five states, serving more than sixteen thousand children anf their families.

Source: Giving, by Bill Clinton, p. 71-73 , Sep 4, 2007

Universal pre-kindergarten; and make family the best school

[We should be] particularly focusing on kids who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, I think you have to start with preschool, even before pre-kindergarten. I’ve advocated universal pre-kindergarten. I think you have to start even earlier to try to help the family be the best school and teaching opportunity for their own children.
Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” , Aug 19, 2007

Working families cannot participate in school between 9 & 3

I want a partnership among families and students, schools and teachers and our government. Our families have to be their child’s first school & every parent has to understand they are their child’s first teacher. And we need to help parents do that job. That’s why I started Early Head Start. That’s why I expanded Head Start when I was first lady. That’s why I want to have universal free kindergarten for every single four-year-old, because if we give that opportunity, they will stay in school longer & they will do better.

We have to work more closely with our schools to make them reflect more the way people live today. Working families cannot get there between nine and three. They have to be given a chance to participate with their children in their education.

And we have to respect and honor our teachers and that does require paying them what they deserve. And we have to make college affordable again so that every single middle class and working family can send their children.

Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum , Jul 12, 2007

It takes a village; American village has failed our children

I really believe that it takes a village to raise a child--and the American village has failed our children.

I have fought for more than 35 years for early childhood education, for more mentoring, for more parent education programs, to get our children off to a good start. I have fought to make sure that schools were fair to all children. That’s the work I did in Arkansas, to try to raise the standards particularly for the poorest of our children, and most especially for minority children. And certainly in the White House years, and now in the Senate, I’ve continued that effort because I don’t think there is a more important issue.

But I also believe we cannot separate the education part from the economic part. There is still discrimination in the workplace. There are still people who are turned down and turned away who have qualifications and skills that should make them employable. So this is a broader issue that we have to address.

Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University , Jun 28, 2007

Establish right to education from pre-school thru college

Let’s recommit ourselves to the idea that every young person in America has the right to a high-quality education, from pre-school all the way through college. I have proposed universal pre-kindergarten for every 4-year-old. If we provide that, the evidence is overwhelming, children will stay in school longer, they will do better, and they’ll stay out of trouble. Because you know what? There are states in our country who actually plan how many prison beds they will need by looking at third grade reading scores. They look at the failure rates and they extrapolate how many prison spots they’re going to need in 10 to 15 years. Well, I think it is time that we had a real debate about that. And I, for one, would much rather pay for pre-kindergarten than for more prison beds. Let’s keep kids on the right track and out of the prison system.
Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference , Jun 20, 2007

Early education affects things from IQ to lifelong earnings

New research in childhood development establishes that a child’s environment affects everything from IW to future behavior patterns. These studies confirm the importance of breast-feeding infants, of setting aside time for family meals, and of empowering parents to shield their children from predatory marketing and the violent and sexually explicit media that contribute to aggressive behavior, early sexual experimentation, obesity, and depression. The case for quality early childhood education and programs like Head Start is stronger than ever, and we should expand them. According to a study conducted by Federal Reserve economist Rob Grunewald and conducted by Nobel laureate economist James Heckman, high-quality preschool programs are among the most cost-effective public investments we make, lowering dependency and raising lifetime earnings.
Source: 2006 intro to It Takes A Village, by H. Clinton, p. xviii , Dec 12, 2006

2001: Proposed and passed National Teacher Corps

The standards and accountability movement has grown dramatically over the last decade. The No Child Left Behind Act became law, and it has laid bare the problems in many of our poorest, worst-performing schools. We can no longer say that we didn’t know that these schools were failing some of our most vulnerable kids. To improve the quality of education, we need to improve instruction in the classroom. Nationwide, two million teachers will leave teaching over the next decade. NYC already loses 30% more math teachers and 22% more science teachers than it certifies every year. IN 2001, I proposed the National Teacher Corps, which brings teachers into the classroom, and a new initiative that would provide more schools with strong principals. Both became law.
Source: 2006 intro to It Takes A Village, by H. Clinton, p.304-305 , Dec 12, 2006

Teacher testing only for new teachers

LAZIO: Mrs. Clinton said that she was for teacher testing. Well, but only for new teachers. I’m for teacher competency examinations for teachers whether they’re new teachers, but more importantly teachers that have been in the system for some time. I don’t understand why you would not want to have examinations for teachers that were already in the system that are perhaps failing our children.

Q: Is it true what he says - that you’re for testing new teachers but not teachers who are already in the system?

CLINTON: That’s right. And that’s what the New York law is. You know, I agree that we should be testing new teachers. I believe that we ought to have pay for performance where we evaluate teachers. I think we ought to streamline the due process standards so that teachers that don’t measure up would no longer be in the classroom.

Source: (X-ref Lazio) NY Senate debate on NBC , Oct 28, 2000

Testing only new teachers respects professionalism

LAZIO [to Clinton]: Why you would say to a new teacher that just came out of school and has learned the most current up-to-date methodology for teaching-why you would say teacher testing is OK for them but it’s not OK for somebody that’s been out there and teaching for 15 years and may have lost touch with their ability to use the latest techniques. And I think it’s because in the end I’m not trapped by the status quo. I’m not trapped by the teachers’ unions, which I think Mrs. Clinton is.

Q: Are you trapped by the teachers unions?

CLINTON: No. In fact I’m very much in line with what I think will work and what experts in the field think. You know, I’m a lawyer. I had to take a bar exam. Mr. Lazio’s a lawyer. He took a bar exam and he wasn’t tested every five years. I think teachers are professionals and should be treated as professionals. That’s why I believe that we should test teachers in the beginning to make sure that when they got their teaching degree, that they’re qualified.

Source: (X-ref Lazio) NY Senate debate on NBC , Oct 28, 2000

Hold kids to high standards, starting at home

First and foremost, we have to expect every single child to succeed and we have to hold every one of them to high academic standards. There should be no exceptions, no excuses, to our solemn commitment that every child can learn; every child deserves to be challenged, to have their imaginations sparked. That is not just the task in our schools; it has to start in our homes with parents and family members who value education.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

Teachers need more peer consulting & more recognition

1 out of 3 new teachers leaves the first year, and in some urban areas it’s 1 out of 2. We’ve got to make sure that our newly minted teachers teach in fields that they are prepared in; and that we not give the toughest assignments to such young teachers. We also have to provide quality, ongoing professional development. And teachers need the time to prepare their courses, consult with their peers about the strategies that work, and be recognized & rewarded for your knowledge and your skills.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

Social promotion cheats our children

[We should] call for an end to social promotion. We really do cheat our children if we continue to promote them to the next grade if they don’t have the necessary skills and knowledge to do the work required. We do them a terrible disservice if we set the bar of achievement higher and then we don’t provide the help and resources needed to enable them to catch up. We’ve got to do more to give every child the chance to reach the pride of accomplishment.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

More after-school; smaller classes

We need extended learning time. We need after-school and summer programs. We need smaller classroom sizes. Reducing class size is one of the most critical investments we can make, not only in our children’s future, but in our teachers’ ability to succeed. Too many teachers have to spend more time keeping order, dealing with personal problems, trying to understand what one child out of 30 or 35 needs, than maintaining high academic standards for the entire classroom.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

Read to young kids 20-30 minutes daily

The early years of development are critical to successful learning later on. A parent is a child’s first teacher. If family members would read to their children just 20 or 30 minutes a day, it would literally revolutionize American education. And stand with me in pushing for universal access to quality, affordable preschool programs for every child. And that includes Head Start, home visitations, high quality child care, early Head Start-whatever it takes to be well-prepared for school.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

Entire school staff should focus on school safety

Too many children bring guns to school, too many children believe that violence & aggression is the way to solve problems. Teachers & principals need help. Everyone who works in a school-from the custodians, or the counselors, or the teacher’s aids- everyone needs help in knowing how to target those children who need extra help & make sure they get it; to diffuse difficult situations; to provide cooling off periods; and to remove from schools those students who are disrupting the learning of others.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

Metal detectors at school are not much of an intrusion

Q: How do you draw the line between bringing in security and students feeling violated? A: The metal detector is much less intrusive than having random searches. I think people feel that after a while that metal detectors didn’t become much of an intrusion-it’s like getting on an airplane. But that’s not the real problem. We have to protect kids, but we’ve got to create a climate in which kids feel free to seek out help, kids feel that they’ve got support if they’ve got problems.
Source: ABC’s “Good Morning America” , Jun 4, 1999

Arts education is needed in our schools

Art education is needed in our schools. The University of California at Irvine’s ground-breaking research demonstrates that instruction in the arts, and particularly instrumental music, enables a child to enhance their reasoning, their spatial understanding, and their analytical abilities. This is why supporting arts education is not only the right thing to do, but it is the smart thing for our nation.
Source: Recognizing the Power of the Arts in Education Speech , Sep 17, 1998

Give kids after-school activities to prevent gangs

One of the best ways to combat juvenile crime is to give kids something positive to do after school. Let’s follow Houston, where children play golf and soccer after school. Their mentors are coaches and teachers, not gang leaders. We also have a responsibility to protect our children at home. Guns are the fourth leading cause of accidental deaths among children. Almost half of American households have guns, but often, instead of being locked up, they are merely hidden or left in a drawer.
Source: Column: “Talking it Over” , Apr 20, 1998

Allow student prayer, but no religious instruction

To bring reason & clarity to this often contentious issue, my husband’s administration developed a statement of principles concerning permissible religious activities in the public schools. The complete guidelines include:This last point is particularly important, [because religious institutions, parents, & schools share] the responsibility of helping children to develop moral values and a social conscience.
Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p.162-163 , Sep 25, 1996

Character education: teach empathy & self-discipline

A number of schools around the country are incorporating the teaching of empathy & self-discipline--what social theorists call “character education”--into their curricula. In New Haven CT, a social development approach is integrated into every public school child’s daily routine. Children learn techniques for developing & enhancing social skills, identifying & managing emotions like anger, and solving problems creatively. The program appears to raise grades as well as to improve behavior.
Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p. 55-56 , Sep 25, 1996

Supports Goals 2000: hardly the stuff of revolution

As soon as Goals 2000 passed, it was attacked by extremists, who stirred up anxious parents with visions of totalitarian control over their children’s minds and of “secular humanists” stealing their children’s souls. What are these goals that promote suc reactions: By 2000
  1. All children in America will start school ready to learn
  2. High school graduation rates will increase to at least 90%
  3. All students will leave grades 4, 8, and 12 having demonstrated competency in challenging subject matter
  4. US students will be first in the world in science & math
  5. Every adult will be literate and will possess the skills necessary to compete in a global economy
  6. Every school will be free of drugs & violence
  7. Teachers will have access to continuing education
  8. Every school will promote partnerships with parents.
These goals are hardly the stuff of revolution and are not likely to be fully achieved by 2000, We cannot expect to reverse decades of declining standards in a few years.
Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p.242-243 , Sep 25, 1996

Supports structured inner-city schools, with uniforms

I have advocated for highly structured inner-city schools. I have advocated uniforms for kids in inner city schools. I have advocated that we have to help structure people’s environment who come from unstructured, disorganized, dysfunctional family settings. Because if you do not have any structure on the outside, it is very difficult to internalize it on the inside.
Source: Speech at Drew University, Madison, NJ , May 18, 1996

1960s: Taught reading in poor Boston neighborhoods

Hillary kept herself active in student government and off-campus activities. She followed a rigorous schedule. She made frequent trips into the Roxbury section of Boston, where she worked teaching poor children to read. Boston then was embroiled in controversies over voting access for blacks. Hillary and her friends got involved in working on an alternative newspaper in the black community and participated in inter-campus activist groups with Harvard and MIT.
Source: The Inside Story, by Judith Warner, p. 33-34 , Aug 1, 1993


Hillary Clinton on Arkansas Ed Reform

AR Ed Reform taught that there is a place for testing

Q: How do you feel about the testing mania forced upon our children by No Child Left Behind?

A: I believe in accountability. In 1983, I led the effort in Arkansas to improve our schools, and I do think there is a place for testing. But we should not look at our children as though they are little, walking tests, and we’ve gone way overboard. So I would like to see us do assessments, but understand we need a broad, rich curriculum that honors the spark of learning in every child.

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate , Sep 13, 2007

Sent Chelsea to public schools in Arkansas, but not DC

Q: Do you send your kids to public school or private school? We know, Sen. Clinton, you sent your daughter to private school. Is that correct?

A: No, it’s not correct. Chelsea went to public schools, K-8th grade, until we moved to Washington. And then I was advised, and it was, unfortunately, good advice, that if she were to go to a public school, the press would never leave her alone, because it’s a public school. But we were very pleased she was in public schools in Little Rock.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC , Jul 23, 2007

1983: Teacher testing as part of AR education reform

Hillary would prevail in the political battle for education reform. It would be her greatest achievement in public life until she was elected to the Senate.

In addition to teacher-testing, the plan that Hillary and her education task force eventually formulated required that all local school districts adopt uniform, state-imposed standards for curriculum and classroom size.

When Hillary announced the plan to the state legislature, she called teacher-testing the real heart of the reform package. It was clear that the state’s teachers would therefore oppose it.

Exactly how Hillary decided that teacher-testing might be the smoothest road to education reform is unclear. Democrats were generally opposed to the idea. Hillary was sure that testing teachers’ competence and holding them to minimum standards would help the schools educate. Hillary also knew her words would appeal to conservatives: “The first purpose of school is to educate, not to provide entertainment or opportunities to socialize.”

Source: A Woman in Charge, by Carl Bernstein, p.172-173 , Jun 5, 2007

1983: AR reforms fixed unconstitutional school financing

In May 1983, the Arkansas supreme court declared our school financing system unconstitutional. We had to write a new aid formula, then fund it. There were only two alternatives: take money away from the wealthiest districts and give it to the poorest and fastest-growing ones, or raise enough new revenues so that we could equalize funding. Since no district wanted to lose money, the court decision gave us the best opportunity we'd ever have to raise taxes for education.

Hillary's committee held hearings in every county in the state, getting recommendations from educators and the public. Her report recommended to both raise the sales tax and approve "standards which, when implemented, will be among the nation's best."

Hillary made a brilliant presentation, prompting one Representative to say, "It looks like we might have elected the wrong Clinton!" We had opposition from the anti-tax crowd; rural school districts that feared they couldn't meet the standards; and the AEA teacher's union.

Source: My Life, by Bill Clinton, p.308-311 , Jun 21, 2004

AR Reform plan pushed mandatory teacher testing

Bill asked me to chair an Education Standards Committee to recommend reforms. Nobody, including me, thought it was a good idea. Bill was convinced he was right to appoint me, & I relented.

This was a risky move. Improving the schools would require an increase in taxes--never popular. The 15-member committee recommended that students take standardized tests, including one before they could graduate from 8th grade. But the cornerstone of the proposed reform plan was mandatory teacher testing. Though this enraged the teachers union, civil rights groups & others who were vital to the Democratic Party in Arkansas, we felt there was no way around the issue. How could we expect children to perform at national levels when their teachers fell short? Gettin the legislature to approve and fund the reform package turned into a knock-down-drag-out fight among interest groups. I pled our case for improving schools before a joint session of the Arkansas legislature, and the reform plan was implemented in 1984.

Source: Living History, by Hillary Clinton, p. 93-94 , Nov 1, 2003

Arkansas education: improvement against great odds

LAZIO: In Arkansas, when you had responsibility for education, the student performance when you left was at the bottom of the barrel. Spending was up. Taxes were up.

CLINTON: The work that was done in Arkansas received numerous awards and praise, because we really started something that I’m very proud of. And test scores went up in third grade and sixth grade. High school graduation went up. The work was done against great odds, in a very poor state.

LAZIO: I have a very different perspective on your record in Arkansas. And I would just urge the voters not to rely on what I’m saying, but to look it up.

CLINTON: I’m not here to defend Arkansas. I’m here to run for the Senate to represent New York.

LAZIO: I realize that you don’t want to talk about Arkansas because that experience was a disaster for Arkansas.

CLINTON: I’m happy to talk about it if that’s what you want to spend your time talking about.

LAZIO: That’s your record, Mrs. Clinton. You can’t run away from your record.

Source: (X-ref Lazio) NY Senate debate on NBC , Oct 28, 2000

Pushed teacher testing in Arkansas

[In 1983, while chairing a committee to improve Arkansas’ education system, then ranked 50th in the nation], Hillary snapped up the idea of higher standards for teachers which conservatives in the legislature were pushing. “Why don’t we have a test for teachers and fire the ones that fail?” she suggested.
Hillary spearheaded a requirement for a onetime teacher examination. She pushed on to introduce a consumer rights approach to education, and he concept of continuing education for educators.
Source: Hillary’s Choice by Gail Sheehy, p.152-153 , Dec 9, 1999

AR ed reform: mandate kindergarten, no social promotion

Source: Hillary’s Choice by Gail Sheehy, p.153 , Dec 9, 1999

1983: Challenged low education expectations

[Hillary said of her 1983 educational reforms], “One of the principal problems we face in our state is that we are not expecting enough of ourselves, our schools, or our students and to set high expectations for them. We have an obligation to challenge our students and set high expectations for them. I was exposed to a really broad education, and it was difficult for me to understand when I first started in 1983 that the vast majority of students here would never be exposed to what I was.”
Source: The Inside Story, by Judith Warner, p.126-127 , Aug 1, 1999

1993: Public accepted First Lady as education reformer

The astuteness of Hillary’s style overhaul became clear when, in 1983, Bill Clinton appointed her to head his new Arkansas Education Standards Committee. Although aides warned him the appointment would bring changes of nepotism and possible scandal, Hillary by then had become so acceptable that no objection was raised.

The first problem Hillary knew she had to tackle was attitude. Students in Arkansas suffered from a terrible sense of inferiority...’the Thank God for Mississippi’ syndrome.

[One political observer said], “Bringing the idea of education reform to the public was an education process for Arkansas. She helped educate the educators. She said: we can’t sit back and let he world go by without us. We’re going to have to compete. We must upgrade our educational standards and our educational systems. And it’s not going to be done overnight...And she did it.”

Source: The Inside Story, by Judith Warner, p.124-125 , Aug 1, 1999

Long journey for reform, not isolated initiatives

They had taken on education reform, the hardest issue, whose benefits would not be seen for a generation. Talk about a long journey, she said. They realized the need for a story, complete with enemies and villains. They even villainized the teacher's union, which had been their ally, for resisting "accountability" when it opposed teacher testing.

"You show people what you're willing to fight for when you fight your friends," Hillary said. Though the battle was long and a painful political experience, there were benchmarks of progress every 2 years or so along the way: Class size shrank, teacher testing was implemented, reading scores improved slightly. "It took years to see results," she said. But by the end of Clinton's time as governor, people understood his commitment to education was genuine. Isolated initiatives worked less well, she added. "People have got to understand where he wants to take the country."

Source: The Agenda, by Bob Woodward, p.110 , Jun 6, 1994

HIPPY: Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters

One major initiative that eventually grew out of Hillary Clinton's work on the standards committee was the establishment in Arkansas of the first Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters program, known as HIPPY. She had learned of the program in 1985.

The HIPPY program differed from programs like Head Start in that it taught mothers to teach their children at home. As Hillary explained: "Half of all learning occurs by the time a person is five. There are instances where people from very terrible situations rise above them and do well. But those are the exceptions. So a good preschool program, whether it's center-based or home-based, is on the of the smartest investments. What HIPPY does is to provide a very structured way for mothers to interact with their children. A lot of other programs are well meaning, but they basically put too much responsibility on the mother. If the mother knew what she was supposed to do, she would do it."

Source: The Inside Story, by Judith Warner, p. 133-4 , Aug 1, 1993

Passing illiterate students is educational fraud

[A school that] passes illiterate students commits educational fraud. There is a feeling of urgency and a need for changes in education. If we do not seize the opportunity we have now, we will go backward.

The road to being someone in this society starts with education, and we intend to be sure that every child in this state is somebody. Because we’re going to give them every chance we can to develop their minds so they can play a role in this state to make it the kind of place it needs to be.

Source: Unique Voice, p. 32-33: Educational Standards Committee , Sep 6, 1983


Hillary Clinton on Education Funding

End predatory student college loan rates over 20%

I’m a strong supporter of early childhood education and universal pre-kindergarten. I’m against No Child Left Behind as it is currently operating. And I would end it, because we can do so much better to have an education system that really focuses in on [students].
Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary , Apr 16, 2008

Fully fund special education & 21st century classrooms

Let’s use those dollars for education strategically. Let’s do what we said we were going to do. How about funding special education which we never have to the extent we promised? How about fully funding whatever we ask the local communities to do? I want to have a very holistic view of this because if you go into a classroom today, it didn’t look like the 21st century in most instances. It looks very familiar to me who was last in a classroom decades ago.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate , Dec 13, 2007

Incentive pay for school wide performance

Q: What about performance-based pay?

A: Well, I have long supported incentive pay for school wide performance. You know, what we’re trying to do is to change the culture within schools and to provide the resources, the training and the support that teachers need to do the job they do want to do. You have to reform No Child Left Behind. We’re going to try to do that and begin to make it much more in line with the reality of teaching.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” , Aug 19, 2007

Transfer tax cuts from rich & corporations to student aid

We were making progress in narrowing the gap between high tuition and costs and what the average student and his or her family could pay. We ought to be making sure every qualified student can go to college and pursue his or her dreams. And you know, there’s a very easy way to do that. All we have to do is cut all the tax breaks for oil companies, pharmaceutical companies and billionaires and put it into student aid.
Source: Annual 2006 Take Back America Conference , Jun 14, 2006

Reforms: teacher corps; more federal funding; modernize

Source: Clinton-Lazio debate, Buffalo NY , Sep 13, 2000

Opposes merit pay for individual teachers

Merit pay to individual teachers would discourage teachers from helping troubled students and would create a distorted competition among teachers. I don’t think that’s a very good way to inspire teachers. We want our best teachers to work with the kids who are the hardest to teach. If teachers are going to be told that the people who look better on a test are the ones who are going to get them rewarded in salary or compensation, why would anyone take on the kids who are harder to teach?
Source: New York Times, Page A25 , Apr 6, 2000

Supports merit pay for entire schools

I could support merit pay awarded to entire schools rather than individual teachers. I also support pay for performance. This extra pay would be given to teachers who take on additional responsibilities like serving as mentors to other teachers.
Source: New York Times, Page A25 , Apr 6, 2000

Scholarships for teachers who go to urban schools

The first lady offered a menu of proposals for schools. She called for higher salaries for teachers. She restated her support for providing four-year scholarships to teachers who promise to work in inner-city schools. She called for more federal spending to hire teachers and to repair run-down schools. She said she would work to ensure passage of a $29 billion federal bill aimed at repairing and modernizing public schools.
Source: Adam Nagourney, New York Times , Mar 12, 2000

Increase resources to meet increased standards

Yes, we need to end social promotion. Social promotion-peers are allowed to graduate without consideration for academic performance. But what good does it do to raise the bar if we don’t lift up our young people to be able to vault across it. You cannot raise standards without increasing the resources needed to meet those standards.
Source: Adam Nagourney, New York Times , Mar 12, 2000

Address teacher shortage with salary increases

We’re facing a critical teacher shortage-we’re going to have to recruit more teachers. But I agree with the NEA president that there’s not only a teacher shortage, there’s a respect shortage and a salary shortage as well. There is no way in today’s complicated, information-overdrive world that we’re going to get and keep those in the teaching profession to carry on the tradition of public education, unless [they] receive the salaries that [their] important work deserves. We’re going to have to recruit more teachers. I agree with the President’s proposal that we expand the already successful Troops to Teachers program. We should also provide loan forgiveness to new teachers committed to teaching in hard-to-serve areas. But we cannot lower the standards in this recruitment drive, and I am very much in agreement with the proposal that states be required to phase out emergency certification and improve state teacher certification systems.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999


Hillary Clinton on School Choice

Total change in No Child Left Behind

No Child Left Behind has been a terrible imposition on teachers & school districts & families & students. Part of it is because it was an unfunded mandate. And part of it is that the Dept. of Education under Pres. Bush did not absolutely enforce it and interpret it in the right way. So we need growth models for students. We need broader curriculum. We need to make sure that when we look at our children, we don’t just see a little walking test. We’ve got to have a total change in No Child Left Behind.
Source: 2007 AFL-CIO Democratic primary forum , Aug 8, 2007

Supports public school choice; but not private nor parochial

In 2006, Hillary disparaged vouchers partly on the worry that vouchers enabling parents to send their children to parochial schools could be used to train children to become terrorists. A Cato Institute Education specialist pointed out that “under federal law no one would be permitted to open a school that advocates violence against the country.” Thus vouchers could not go to a “School of Jihad.”

Years earlier, Hillary tried to play centrist on the school choice debate. In It Takes a Village she said she supported “choice among public schools” but redefined “school choice.” Instead of helping provide choice between public and private schools, she uses choice to mean choice among public schools. She wrote “some critics of public schools urge greater competition among schools as a way of returning control from bureaucrats and politicians to parents and teachers. I find their arguments persuasive, and that’s why I strongly favor promoting choice among public schools.”

Source: Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, by Amanda Carpenter, p. 89-90 , Oct 11, 2006

More teachers, smaller classes, no vouchers

I’ve been involved with schools now for 17 years, working on behalf of education reform. And I think we know what works. We know that getting classroom size down works. That’s why I’m for adding 100,000 teachers to the classroom. We know that modernizing and better equipping our schools works. And we know that high standards works. But what’s important is to stay committed to the public school system, not siphon off money, as my opponent would, with vouchers.
Source: NY Senate debate on NBC , Oct 28, 2000

Vouchers would take money from public schools

Q: Why don’t you support vouchers for low-income parents?

CLINTON: I could not support vouchers that would take money away from schools where teachers are in partitioned hallways, where the teacher has the only textbook in the classroom. If we can get class size down, if we can provide qualified teachers, we can make a difference. I support adding 100,000 teachers to lower class size. I support the bipartisan school construction funding authority that would permit New York to have school construction without raising taxes.

LAZIO: I have voted twice to support hiring additional teachers. Under my plan, New York would not get shortchanged. Under Mrs. Clinton’s plan, New Yorkers would be subsidizing Southern states. I think it’s immoral to force a child to go to a school where they can’t learn. Poor parents want to have the choice to give their children the education that I want for my children. I trust parents to make that decision, and that’s a major philosophical difference.

Source: Senate debate in Manhattan , Oct 8, 2000

Vouchers drain money from public schools

Q: Do you support vouchers for private schools?

CLINTON: I’ve visited schools throughout the state and some of them are among the finest in the world that you could find anywhere. But others are overcrowded, under-resourced. That’s why I put forth a plan to try to get the teachers that we need and to provide the funds that are required for modernizing our schools, as well as setting high standards, making them safe from violence. I do not support vouchers. And the reason I don’t is because I don’t think we can afford to siphon dollars away from our underfunded public schools.

LAZIO: I believe that it’s immoral to ask a child to go to a school where they can’t learn or where they’re not safe. 80 percent of African-American and Hispanic parents feel that they need it. Why should we trap poor kids in failing schools simply because the teachers unions won’t agree with it?

Source: Clinton-Lazio debate, Buffalo NY , Sep 13, 2000

Vouchers will not improve our public schools

I know there are some who believe that vouchers are the way to improve our public schools; I believe they are dead wrong. There is simply no evidence that vouchers improve student achievement. We’ve been experimenting with vouchers in some jurisdictions for a couple of years-we’ve found no evidence that these have made any difference in student achievement. But what they have done is to divert much-needed public funds for the few and have weakened the entire system.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

Let’s build up our schools-not tear them down

We know a lot more today than we knew five or, certainly, 10 years ago about what we need to do to marshal the resources to make every school that successful. So let’s build up our schools-not tear them down. And let’s make sure that everyone has the same goal in mind-to make our public schools and our public school students the best in the entire world.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

Charter schools provide choice within public system

I stand behind the charter school/public school movement, because parents do deserve greater choice within the public school system to meet the unique needs of their children. Slowly but surely, we’re beginning to create schooling opportunities through the public school charter system-raising academic standards, empowering educators. When we look back on the 1990s, we will see that the charter school movement will be one of the ways we will have turned around the entire public school system.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

Charters meet needs of failing public school students

Charter schools can play a significant part in revitalizing and strengthening schools by offering greater flexibility from bureaucratic rules, so that parents, teachers, and the community can design and run their own schools, and focus on setting goals and getting results. Many of these schools are meeting the needs of students who had trouble succeeding in more traditional public schools. Every child deserves a quality public education as part of their American birthright.
Source: Remarks at Charter School Meeting, Washington DC , Aug 4, 1998

Vouchers siphon off much-needed resources

Charter schools are a way of bringing teachers and parents and communities together-instead of other efforts-like vouchers-which separate people out-siphon much needed resources; and weakening the school systems that desperately need to be strengthened.
Source: Remarks at Charter School Meeting, Washington DC , Aug 4, 1998

Parents can choose, but support public schools

I believe strongly in a parent’s right to choose the best education for his/her child. We have a proud tradition of parochial and private education in America. We also know that the majority of children are educated in the public education system. So we have to support the public education system whether or not our children are in it or whether or not we have children. The public education system is a critical investment for the well-being of all of us.
Source: Unique Voice, p.173 , Feb 3, 1997

Supports public school choice and charter schools

Some critics of public schools urge greater competition among schools as a way of returning control from bureaucrats to parents and teachers. I find their argument persuasive and I favor promoting choice among public schools, much as the President’s Charter Schools Initiative encourages.

Charter schools are public schools created and operated under a charter. They may be organized by parents, teachers, or others. The idea is that they should be freed from regulations that stifle innovation, so they can focus on getting results. By 1995, 19 states had enacted charter school laws about 200 schools have been granted charters.

The Improving America’s Schools Act, passed in October 1994 with the President’s support, provided federal funds for a wide range of reforms, including launching charter schools. Federal funding is needed to break through bureaucratic attitudes that block change and frustrate students and parents, driving some to leave public schools.

Source: It Takes A Village, by Hillary Clinton, p.244-245 , Sep 25, 1996


Hillary Clinton on Voting Record

Solemn vow never to abandon our public schools

Since 1983, I have been a vigorous advocate of reforming & fixing schools that do not work. I have seen that we do know how to turn around failing schools. What we have too often lacked is the staying power & the will to deliver on what we know would make a difference. But if we are to make that difference, then we have to make a solemn vow never to abandon our public schools or the children who attend them, but to instead redouble our efforts to pursue strategies that we know can make a difference.
Source: Remarks to NEA in Orlando, Florida , Jul 5, 1999

Voted YES on $52M for "21st century community learning centers".

To increase appropriations for after-school programs through 21st century community learning centers. Voting YES would increase funding by $51.9 million for after school programs run by the 21st century community learning centers and would decrease funding by $51.9 million for salaries and expenses in the Department of Labor.
Reference: Amendment to Agencies Appropriations Act; Bill S Amdt 2287 to HR 3010 ; vote number 2005-279 on Oct 27, 2005

Voted YES on $5B for grants to local educational agencies.

To provide an additional $5 billion for title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Voting YES would provide:
Reference: Elementary and Secondary Education Amendment; Bill S Amdt 2275 to HR 3010 ; vote number 2005-269 on Oct 26, 2005

Voted YES on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education.

Vote to adopt an amendment to the Senate's 2006 Fiscal Year Budget Resolution that would adjust education funding while still reducing the deficit by $5.4 billion. A YES vote would:
Reference: Kennedy amendment relative to education funding; Bill S AMDT 177 to S Con Res 18 ; vote number 2005-68 on Mar 17, 2005

Voted YES on funding smaller classes instead of private tutors.

Vote to authorize a federal program aimed at reducing class size. The plan would assist states and local education agencies in recruiting, hiring and training 100,000 new teachers, with $2.4 billion in fiscal 2002. This amendment would replace an amendment allowing parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors.
Reference: Bill S1 ; vote number 2001-103 on May 15, 2001

Voted YES on funding student testing instead of private tutors.

Vote to pass an amendment that would authorize $200 million to provide grants to help states develop assessment systems that describe student achievement. This amendment would replace an amendment by Jeffords, R-VT, which would allow parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors.
Reference: Bill S1 ; vote number 2001-99 on May 10, 2001

Voted YES on spending $448B of tax cut on education & debt reduction.

Vote to reduce the size of the $1.6 trillion tax cut by $448 billion while increasing education spending by $250 billion and providing an increase of approximately $224 billion for debt reduction over 10 years.
Reference: Bill H Con Res 83 ; vote number 2001-69 on Apr 4, 2001

Offer every parent Charter Schools and public school choice.

Clinton adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Create World-Class Public Schools
Now more than ever, quality public education is the key to equal opportunity and upward mobility in America. Yet our neediest children often attend the worst schools. While lifting the performance of all schools, we must place special emphasis on strengthening those institutions serving, and too often failing, low-income students.

To close this achievement and opportunity gap, underperforming public schools need more resources, and above all, real accountability for results. Accountability means ending social promotion, measuring student performance with standards-based assessments, and testing teachers for subject-matter competency.

As we demand accountability, we should ensure that every school has the resources needed to achieve higher standards, including safe and modern physical facilities, well-paid teachers and staff, and opportunities for remedial help after school and during summers. Parents, too, must accept greater responsibility for supporting their children’s education.

We need greater choice, competition, and accountability within the public school system, not a diversion of public funds to private schools that are unaccountable to taxpayers. With research increasingly showing the critical nature of learning in the early years, we should move toward universal access to pre-kindergarten education.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC2 on Aug 1, 2000

Rated 82% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes.

Clinton scores 82% by the NEA on public education issues

The National Education Association has a long, proud history as the nation's leading organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Founded in 1857 "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States," the NEA has remained constant in its commitment to its original mission as evidenced by the current mission statement:

To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all.
In pursuing its mission, the NEA has determined that it will focus the energy and resources of its 2.7 million members toward the "promotion of public confidence in public education." The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: NEA website 03n-NEA on Dec 31, 2003

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