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Norm Coleman on Education

Republican Sr Senator (MN)


Led the effort to expand Pell Grant awards

Coleman proudly led the effort in the Senate to expand Pell Grant awards. In 2004, as a result of a Coleman amendment, the maximum Pell Grant award increased from $4,050 to $4,500. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, a bill Senator Coleman fought for, became law in September 2007. This bill increases the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,400 by 2012 and increases the family income level at which a student is automatically eligible for the maximum Pell Grant to $30,000. Coleman worked to create the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education grants program, providing $4,000 a year to undergraduate and graduate students who agree to teach a high-need subject, such as math and science, in a high-need school. Overall, this legislation will provide an additional $21.57 billion over 5 years for federal student aid programs. Coleman recently introduced the College Textbook Affordability Act of 2007 to reduce the astronomical cost of college textbooks.
Source: Campaign website, www.colemanforsenate.com Aug 12, 2008

Fully fund special education; no unfunded mandates

Q: Do you favor extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, or investing more money into our struggling school systems?

A: The rhetoric raised by that question... somehow itís tax breaks for the rich or education. No, first we need to fully fund special education -- no question about that. As an urban mayor I understood what unfunded mandates did to a community. In the end you have to figure out a way to work together to build coalition.

Source: Minnesota Public Radio, Senatorial debates Oct 21, 2002

Supports charters; and teacher accountability

Iíll work with Democrats and Republicans to reduce class size and ensure that more of our money for schools goes into the classroom, not administration. Iíll fight for meaningful reform, accountability and higher standards. Thatís why I support charter schools, standardized student testing, and requiring teachers to pass competency tests in their subjects.
Source: Campaign website, www.ColemanForSenate.com, ďEducationĒ Oct 2, 2002

Merit pay rewards excellence & supports accountability

I support merit pay. Education is one of the few systems in the world - in America - where we donít reward excellence. Reward excellence, but also hold people accountable.
Source: MPR Election 98 coverage Jun 30, 1998

Supports charter schools and options for competition

Thereís no one, perfect system for every kid. I believe that introducing notions of competition, charter schools - a range of options for kids - strengthens public schools. I want strong public schools, I am passionate about that. The question is how do you get there, and you donít get there by promising more money or promising to protect what you have.
Source: MPR Election 98 coverage Jun 30, 1998

Supported vouchers in 1996, now supports tax breaks

In 1996 Norm Coleman took a big political risk and came out in favor of school vouchers. At the time, Norm Coleman was still a Democrat, and the idea of using public money to send low-income students to private schools was anathema to many of the DFLís party faithful - and especially the teachersí unions who back the DFL. Colemanís willingness to line up with Republican governor Arne Carlson on the vouchers issue was the beginning of the end for Colemanís career as a Democrat.

Coleman proudly led the effort in the Senate to expand Pell Grant awards. In 2004, as a result of a Coleman amendment, the maximum Pell Grant award increased from $4,050 to $4,500. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, a bill Senator Coleman fought for, became law in September 2007. This bill increases the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,400 by 2012 and increases the family income level at which a student is automatically eligible for the maximum Pell Grant to $30,000.

Source: Link Jun 30, 1998

Voted YES on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects.

Vote on the passage of the bill, the American Competitiveness Scholarship Act, the omnibus appropriations bill for the Departments of Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor. Pres. Bush then vetoed the Bill.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. OBEY: This bill, more than any other, determines how willing we are to make the investment necessary to assure the future strength of this country and its working families. The President has chosen to cut the investments in this bill by more than $7.5 billion in real terms. This bill rejects most of those cuts.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. LEWIS: This bill reflects a fundamental difference in opinion on the level of funding necessary to support the Federal Government's role in education, health and workforce programs. The bill is $10.2 billion over the President's budget request. While many of these programs are popular on both sides of the aisle, this bill contains what can rightly be considered lower priority and duplicative programs. For example, this legislation continues three different programs that deal with violence prevention. An omnibus bill is absolutely the wrong and fiscally reckless approach to completing this year's work. It would negate any semblance of fiscal discipline demonstrated by this body in recent years.

Veto message from President Bush:

This bill spends too much. It exceeds [by $10.2 billion] the reasonable and responsible levels for discretionary spending that I proposed to balance the budget by 2012. This bill continues to fund 56 programs that I proposed to terminate because they are duplicative, narrowly focused, or not producing results. This bill does not sufficiently fund programs that are delivering positive outcomes. This bill has too many earmarks--more than 2,200 earmarks totaling nearly $1 billion. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

Reference: American Competitiveness Scholarship Act; Bill H.R. 3043 ; vote number 2007-391 on Oct 23, 2007

Voted NO 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 NO 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

Rated 45% by the NEA, indicating a mixed record on public education.

Coleman scores 45% 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

Other candidates on Education: Norm Coleman on other issues:
MN Gubernatorial:
Tim Pawlenty
MN Senatorial:
Al Franken
Amy Klobuchar

Newly elected in 2008 & seated in 2009:
AK:Begich (D)
CO:Udall (D)
ID:Risch (R)
MN:Franken (D)
NC:Hagan (D)
NE:Johanns (R)
NH:Shaheen (D)
NM:Udall (D)
OR:Merkley (D)
VA:Warner (D)

Newly appointed in 2009;
special election in 2010:

DE:Kaufman (D)
CO:Bennet (D)
IL:Burris (D)
NY:Gillibrand (D)

Announced retirement as of 2010:
DE:Kaufman (D)
FL:Martinez (R)
KS:Brownback (R)
MO:Bond (R)
OH:Voinovich (R)


Up for 6-year term in 2010:
(13 Democrats; 15 Republicans)
AK:Murkowski (R)
AL:Shelby (R)
AR:Lincoln (D)
AZ:McCain (R)
CA:Boxer (D)
CT:Dodd (D)
GA:Isakson (R)
HI:Inouye (D)
IA:Grassley (R)
ID:Crapo (R)
IN:Bayh (D)
KY:Bunning (R)
LA:Vitter (R)
MD:Mikulski (D)
NC:Burr (R)
ND:Dorgan (D)
NH:Gregg (R)
NV:Reid (D)
NY:Schumer (D)
OK:Coburn (R)
OR:Wyden (D)
PA:Specter (R)
SC:DeMint (R)
SD:Thune (R)
UT:Bennett (R)
VT:Leahy (D)
WA:Murray (D)
WI:Feingold (D)
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Page last updated: Nov 22, 2009