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Ted Kennedy on Education

Democratic Sr Senator (MA)


Shepherded Bush's "No Child Left Behind" through Congress

Federal intrusion got markedly worse in 2001, with No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Sometimes referred to as the cornerstone of President Bush's administration, the bill was shepherded through Congress by Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and represented the bipartisan doubling down of federal involvement in the education of our children.

Do you think there would have been significant Republican opposition? Nope. In the House, Republicans voted 185-34 in favor of NCLB, while in the Senate the vote among Republicans was 43-6. Unfortunately, this willingness to turn power over to Washington was driven in significant part by the desire to further expand federal faith-based initiatives and to provide for the increased possibility of school choice. This is a perfect example of Republicans losing sight of the fact that perfectly laudable policy choices at the local level are nor appropriate (much less constitutional) at the federal level.

Source: Fed Up!, by Gov. Rick Perry, p. 86-87 , Nov 15, 2010

Worked with George W. Bush on No Child Left Behind

Sen. Ted Kennedy had sent signals that he was interested in my school reform proposal, No Child Left Behind. Ted and I were both appalled by the results coming from our public schools. In the competitive global economy, good jobs demanded knowledge and skills. A letter arrived in the Oval Office:

"Like you, I have every intention of getting things done, particularly in education and health care. We will have a difference or two along the way, but I look forward to some important Rose Garden signings.
Warm regards, Ted Kennedy"

I was excited. No Child Left Behind stood a much better chance of becoming law with support from the Lion of the Senate. It was the beginning of my most unlikely partnership in Washington.

Over the years, No Child Left Behind prompted plenty of controversy. We modified bureaucratic restrictions and increased flexibility for states. But we would not dilute the accountability measures. The purpose of the law was to reveal the truth, even when it was unpleasant.

Source: Decision Points, by Pres. George W. Bush, p.273-275 , Nov 9, 2010

Steadfast opponent of vouchers

Most Democrats and a handful of moderate Republicans oppose federally funded vouchers. Sen. Kennedy has been a steadfast opponent. “I don’t think we ought to abandon schools by taking money away from public schools in order to save them. And that’s been my position for some period of time,” Kennedy said. “[Bush opposes that] position. But I can’t emphasize enough the other areas where the president was reaching out, in education and policy, and where there is very broad agreement.”
Source: CNN.com , Jan 23, 2001

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

Voted NO on Educational Savings Accounts.

Vote to pass a bill that would permit tax-free savings accounts of up to $2000 per child annually to be used for public or private school tuition or other education expenses.
Reference: Bill S.1134 ; vote number 2000-33 on Mar 2, 2000

Voted NO on allowing more flexibility in federal school rules.

This vote was a motion to invoke cloture on a bill aimed at allowing states to waive certain federal rules normally required in order to use federal school aid. [A YES vote implies support of charter schools and vouchers].
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)55; N)39; NV)6
Reference: Motion to Invoke cloture on Jeffords Amdt #31; Bill S. 280 ; vote number 1999-35 on Mar 9, 1999

Voted NO on education savings accounts.

This Conference Report approved tax-sheltered education savings accounts.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)59; N)36; NV)5
Reference: H.R. 2646 Conference Report; Bill H.R. 2646 ; vote number 1998-169 on Jun 24, 1998

Voted NO on school vouchers in DC.

This legislation would have amended the DC spending measure, imposing an unconstitutional school voucher program on the District.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)58; N)41; NV)1
Reference: DC Appropriations Act; Bill S. 1156 ; vote number 1997-260 on Sep 30, 1997

Voted NO on $75M for abstinence education.

Vote to retain a provision of the Budget Act that funds abstinence education to help reduce teenage pregnancy, using $75 million of the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Program.
Reference: Bill S 1956 ; vote number 1996-231 on Jul 23, 1996

Voted NO on requiring schools to allow voluntary prayer.

Cut off federal funds to school districts that deny students their right to constitutionally protected voluntary prayer.
Reference: Bill S.1513 ; vote number 1994-236 on Jul 27, 1994

Voted YES on national education standards.

Approval of national education standards.
Status: Bill Passed Y)71; N)25; NV)4
Reference: Goals 2000: Educate America Act; Bill H.R. 1804 ; vote number 1994-34 on Feb 8, 1994

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

Kennedy 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

Other candidates on Education: Ted Kennedy on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Deval Patrick
Tom Menino
MA Senatorial:
Scott Brown

MA politicians

Retiring 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 Vacancies 2013:
HI:Inouye(Deceased)
HI:Schatz(Appointed)
MA:Kerry(Resigning)
MA:Brown(Running)
SC:DeMint(Resigned)
SC:Scott(Appointed)


Senate elections Nov. 2012:
AZ:Flake(R) vs.Carmona(D)
CA:Feinstein(D) vs.Emken(R) vs.Lightfoot(L)
CT:McMahon(R) vs.Murphy(D)
DE:Carper(D) vs.Wade(R) vs.Pires(I)
FL:Nelson(D) vs.Mack(R)
HI:Hirono(D) vs.Lingle(R) vs.Case(D) vs.Pirkowski(R)
IN:Lugar(R) vs.Mourdock(R) vs.Donnelly(D)
MA:Brown(R) vs.Warren(D)
MD:Cardin(D) vs.Bongino(R) vs.Sobhani(I)
ME:King(I) vs.Dill(D) vs.Summers(R)
MI:Stabenow(D) vs.Hoekstra(R) vs.Boman(L)
MN:Klobuchar(D) vs.Bills(R)
MO:McCaskill(D) vs.Akin(R)
MS:Wicker(R) vs.Gore(D)
MT:Tester(D) vs.Rehberg(R)

ND:Heitkamp(D) vs.Berg(R)
NE:Kerrey(D) vs.Fischer(R)
NJ:Menendez(D) vs.Kyrillos(R) vs.Diakos(I)
NM:Heinrich(D) vs.Wilson(R)
NV:Heller(R) vs.Berkley(D)
NY:Gillibrand(D) vs.Long(R) vs.Noren(I) vs.Clark(G)
OH:Brown(D) vs.Mandel(R)
PA:Casey(D) vs.Smith(R)
RI:Whitehouse(D) vs.Hinckley(R)
TN:Corker(R) vs.Clayton(D)
TX:Cruz(R) vs.Sadler(D) vs.Roland(L) vs.Dewhurst(R)
UT:Hatch(R) vs.Howell(D)
VA:Kaine(D) vs.Allen(R)
VT:Sanders(I) vs.MacGovern(R)
WA:Cantwell(D) vs.Baumgartner(R)
WI:Thompson(R) vs.Baldwin(D)
WV:Manchin(D) vs.Raese(R)
WY:Barrasso(R) vs.Chesnut(D)
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Page last updated: Mar 14, 2013