John Edwards on Education
Democratic Nominee for Vice President; NC Jr Senator
EDWARDS: They didn't fund the mandates that they put on the schools all over this country. That's one of the reasons 800 teachers have been laid off in Cleveland. 1/3 of our public schools are failing under the Bush administration. Half of African-Americans are dropping out of high school. Half of Hispanic-American are dropping out of high school. We have a clear plan to improve our public schools that starts with getting our best teachers into the schools where we need them the most by creating incentives for them to go there.
CHENEY: We are making significant progress there. We are closing the achievement gap. The results coming in from a number of studies show, without question, that on math and reading, that in fact our minority students, our Hispanic and African-American students are doing better, and that gap between them and the majority population is, in fact, closing.
SHARPTON: I do not think that it is fair to say that there are two Americas. There are many Americas. Our only problem in America is not just class. Many of us have problems that have succumbed to class barriers but still have the race barriers, or the barriers of language if you are Latino, or the barriers of sexual discrimination if you are, one, a woman or gay and lesbian. So I think it's very simplistic to just say that it's two Americas, one for the wealthy, one for the poor. Wealthy [minority] men still face discrimination. Gays and lesbians, they may make a lot of money, they still face discrimination.
EDWARDS: I did vote for it. As did [Kerry & Kucinich]. The most serious problem with No Child Left Behind, is not just the accountability provisions. We need accountability in order to improve our public schools. But the problem is when they find the school that is struggling, instead of doing the things like bring expertise and resources to the school, to improve the quality of the school that's struggling, that's not what's happening with No Child Left Behind.
Q: When a school is struggling, they give the parents the option to transfer their kids to another public school. They give them afterschool tutoring. How are parents worse off if you identify this school as struggling?
EDWARDS: What about the other kids in the school? The answer is to give incentive pay to our best teachers to get them to teach in schools in less affluent areas, to expand our earlier childhood programs, and doing the same thing with making afterschool available.
A: Today, America has two school systems-one for the affluent & one for everyone else. I am committed to giving every child a great education-by investing in excellent teachers for public schools, and by taking a range of other steps. Private school vouchers won't help our public schools, but will instead drain limited resources from those schools. I oppose vouchers.
A: I've put forward an agenda that stands up for all Americans. My agenda includes a plan to make the first year of college free for any young person willing to work for it. My agenda for America includes a plan to protect older workers from losing their pensions, a plan to pass a prescription drug benefit and to stop drug companies from keeping less- expensive drugs off the market, and a $2500 family leave tax credit for new parents.
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.
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