Pires said it is important to focus on science and math in early education because when students reach college, it is too late to put them on a different path.
COONS: I've complimented both Delaware's teachers and Delaware's governor for their remarkable progress under the "Race to the Top" program. The Obama/Biden administration set a very high bar. They offered a federal pot of money that was available for those states that were willing to make significant changes and Delaware made that progress. Delaware's teachers union, the DSEA, came to the table and made significant changes: to embrace charter and to make them more powerful, to make it possible for schools that are underperforming to be shut down or restructured and to change a system so that teacher compensation could be tied towards improvement by students in the classroom.
O'DONNELL: If you notice, he didn't answer the question as to whether or not he thought the teacher unions were too powerful, and that's probably because he got their endorsement.
COONS:As someone who spent 20 years working with a non-profit foundation, the I Have a Dream Foundation, that raises money from private individuals and helps provide scholarships for students, for teachers, and for a college education, I've been hands-on and engaged with some of the toughest schools in America and some teachers who are significantly under-supported and who needed additional resources. I think there's a significant role, though, for the federal government in providing financial support and encouragement, scholarships for those teachers in science and math. We need a new generation of teachers who are fully prepared to teach to the standards that No Child Left Behind established. And we frankly need to use collaborative learning techniques.
O'DONNELL: I was talking about what a local school taught and that should be decided on the local community.
Q: Do you believe evolution is a myth?
O'DONNELL: Local schools should make that decision.
Q: What do you believe?
O'DONNELL: What I believe is irrelevant.
Q: Why is it irrelevant?
O'DONNELL: What I will support in Washington, D.C. is the ability for the local school system to decide what is taught in their classrooms and what I was talking about on that show was a classroom that was not allowed to teach creationism as an equal theory as evolution. That is against their constitutional rights and that is an overreaching arm of the government.
O'DONNELL: Here in Delaware, where we spend so much money on education, it ends up going to the six-figure salaries of our bureaucrats & superintendents, not to the teachers in the classroom. It's appalling that in a state where we spend so much federal and state dollars on education, good teachers who want to get extra materials have to do so out of their pocket. We have a broken system especially in Wilmington where I live. Throwing more money o a broken system is not going to work. Instead, what we need to do is sit down and have conversations with the teachers--not the unions--about what they need us to do to help them in their classroom.
Q: Do you support eliminating the Dept. of Education?
O'DONNELL: I don't think that we need to go to that drastic of a step, but millions of dollars in Dept. of Education money has been abused. Every time that there's a problem, we just throw more money in it to appease the special interest groups.
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