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Sheldon Whitehouse on Education

Democratic Jr Senator, previously attorney general


Extend "Race to the Top" to middle school

A moderator asked both candidates why they chose to send their children to private school. "I want the best education that I could get for them," said Whitehouse, who then touted efforts, like Race to the Top, which aim to improve public education. He said the next step should be extending those programs to middle school.

Hinckley, who sends his children to Parochial school, said it was important to him that his children be raised in faith. He then pointed out that many families can't afford to send their children to private school and are stuck with failing schools. He proposed giving a grant to every family in Rhode Island, so parents can choose which schools they send their children.

Source: WPRI Eyewitness News on 2012 R.I. Senate debate , Oct 23, 2012

NCLB’s teaching-to-the-test hurts children’s learning

Q: Is No Child Left Behind succeeding as a national standard?

WHITEHOUSE: When NCLB passed, there was a promise from the Bush administration that the additional burdens that NCLB puts on the public schools would be funded by the federal government. They broke that promise. As a result, our local schools bear a terrible burden of trying to comply. Arts programs, science programs, music programs, gifted programs--and other things that are important to the learning of children--have been thrown over the side so teachers can teach to that test. We need to fund NCLB and then go back and review how successful the testing program has been at improving education for our kids.

CHAFEE: I do believe that some kind of testing is a good idea--some parameters to see how everyone’s doing at various grade levels.The difficulty is in the funding. If we don’t provide the resources, it ends up going to the local property tax. If we’re going to mandate something at the federal level, we should pay for it

Source: 2006 RI Senate debate, by RIBA and WPRI-12 , Sep 13, 2006

Vouchers are a poor use of scarce federal dollars

Q: What is your position on No Child Left Behind? Do you belief in school vouchers? Do you support charter schools?

A: The Bush administration should keep its promise and fully fund NCLB. I believe that vouchers are a poor use of scarce federal dollars we need to devote more, not less, funding to our public schools, so teachers have the resources they need and our kids get the best education possible

Source: RIfuture.org blog , Sep 12, 2006

Fully fund No Child Left Behind

The National Education Association (NEA) today announced its strong endorsement of Sheldon Whitehouse, describing him as a tested and experienced leader who will always stand up for teachers, their students, and their families.

“This administration has left our schools short-handed and our kids short-changed,” Whitehouse said. “When I get to Washington I’m going to hold the Republicans’ feet to the fire until full funding for No Child Left Behind becomes a promise kept, not a promise broken.”

Source: Press release, “NEA Endorsement” , May 12, 2006

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

$25B to renovate or repair elementary schools.

Whitehouse signed Fix America's Schools Today Act (FAST)

Source: HR2948&S1597 11-S1597 on Sep 21, 2011

Sponsored extending subsidized federal student loan rates until 2015.

Whitehouse co-sponsored Student Loan Affordability Act

Congressional Summary:Amends title IV (Student Assistance) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the 3.4% interest rate on Federal Direct Stafford loans to loans first disbursed to undergraduate students between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2015. Replaces the [termination date of] 2013 with 2015.

Proponent's argument for bill:(US PIRG press release): The Student Loan Affordability Act keeps interest rates affordable for students over the next two years. If Congress fails to act by July 1, interest rates on federal Subsidized Stafford Loans will double from 3.4% to 6.8%. That would hike the cost of college by $1,000 per student, per loan, for over 7 million students across the country. The bill pays for extending the current interest rates through 2015 by closing three non-education tax loopholes.

Opponent's argument against bill:(Rep. Tom Cotton, R-AR): Unfortunately, too many students today struggle for years to repay their loans because Washington politicians dictate student-loan rates and end up hurting students and taxpayers alike. It's causing tuition costs to skyrocket, leaving students buried in debt, often without jobs, and forced to delay buying a home and starting a family. As students struggle to repay their loans--regardless of the interest rate--taxpayers are on the hook for a $100 billion bailout--a burden hard-working Arkansans shouldn't have to bear. A better path is to let Arkansas's hometown banks work with students and families to finance higher education, just as they do with homes, farms, businesses, and other loans. I'm committed to bringing affordable higher education to every Arkansan and ending the federal-government monopoly on the student-lending business.

Source: S.707 / H.R.1433 13-S707 on Apr 11, 2013

Other candidates on Education: Sheldon Whitehouse on other issues:
RI Gubernatorial:
Donald Carcieri
Lincoln Chafee
RI Senatorial:
Jack Reed
Mark Zaccaria

RI politicians
RI Archives

Retiring in 2014 election:
GA:Chambliss(R)
IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
WV:Rockefeller(D)

Retired as of Jan. 2013:
AZ:Kyl(R)
CT:Lieberman(D)
HI:Akaka(D)
ME:Snowe(R)
ND:Conrad(D)
NE:Nelson(D)
NM:Bingaman(D)
TX:Hutchison(R)
VA:Webb(D)
WI:Kohl(D)
Senate Retirements 2014:
GA:Chambliss(R)
IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
MT:Walsh(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
OK:Coburn(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
WV:Rockefeller(D)

Senate races Nov. 2014:
AK: Begich(D) vs.Miller(R) vs.Treadwell(R) vs.Sullivan(R)
AL: Sessions(R,unopposed)
AR: Pryor(D) vs.Cotton(R)
CO: Udall(D) vs.Gardner(R) vs.Baumgardner(R) vs.Buck(R) vs.Hill(R) vs.Stephens(R)
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KS: Roberts(R) vs.Tiahrt(R) vs.Wolf(R) vs.Taylor(D) vs.Orman(I)
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NC: Hagan(D) vs.Tillis(R) vs.Haugh(L)
NE: Sasse(R) vs.Domina(D) vs.Haugh(L) vs.Osborn(R)
NH: Shaheen(D) vs.Brown(R) vs.Smith(R) vs.Rubens(R) vs.Testerman(R) vs.Martin(R)
NJ: Booker(D) vs.Bell(R) vs.Sabrin(R)
NM: Udall(D) vs.Weh(R) vs.Clements(R)
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OK-6: Inhofe(R) vs.Silverstein(D)
OR: Merkley(D) vs.Wehby(R) vs.Conger(R)
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SC-2: Scott(R) vs.Dickerson(D) vs.Wade(D)
SC-6: Graham(R) vs.Hutto(D) vs.Ravenel(I) vs.Stamper(D) vs.Mace(R) vs.Bright(R)
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Page last updated: Aug 12, 2014