Chris Dodd on Education

Democratic Sr Senator (CT)

Parents are the first teachers

Our system of government depends on an educated population. We’ve got to begin with parents. Parents are the first teachers, and tune we have 37 million people live anything poverty and 12 million of those children, they don’t get the right start. I come from a family of teachers. One of my sisters just retired teaching 41 years, it is staggering to what is happening to these kids. It’s going to take leadership to talk about the importance of this underlying question as of who we are.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Democratic Debate Dec 13, 2007

Education is the heart of who we are

Q: What do you think the toughest choice you have left to make is?

A: I would say the single largest issue in many ways for us to grapple with is education, because it’s the heart of who we are, both in terms of our governance and economic strength and the future. And convincing everyone in the country of the importance and the priority of that issue is something that I think is going to be critical for the success of our country in the 21st century.

Source: 2007 Democratic radio debate on NPR Dec 4, 2007

Merit pay for poor areas ok; not for better neighborhoods

If you define excelling by teachers who will go into rural or poor urban areas and make a difference, mentor children after school, put in extra time to make a difference, then that sort of merit pay has value. If you’re judging excelling by determining whether or not that teacher has students who do better because they’re in better neighborhoods or better schools, I’m totally opposed to that. Every other issue we grapple with depends upon our ability to have the best-educated generation we’ve ever produced. We need to have far more cooperation at the national level. We spend less than 5% of the national budget on elementary and secondary education. That is deplorable. It’s basically Title I. We need to fundamentally reform No Child Left Behind. No Child Left Behind is a disaster for most schools and most teachers. I started the Children’s Caucus, 26 years ago, with Arlen Specter. I wrote the legislation dealing with after-school programs, infant screening, autism issues, as well.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada Nov 15, 2007

Named “Senator of the Decade” by the Head Start Association

I’m proud to have been named “Senator of the Decade” by the Head Start Association. All the ideas being advocating in early childhood education are critical. The federal government needs to be a better partner in all this, not take away control locally. A child’s quality of education shouldn’t depend on the accident of birth, and that’s what happens too often. We need to make the kind of investments jointly with our local communities. Higher education community colleges need to be more tuition-free.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University Oct 30, 2007

Advocate for free community-college education

Q: If education is so important, should we provide a free college education for everybody who qualifies?

A: I’m an advocate of a free community-college education, and I do that by offering a match to any state that will equal 50% of that cost. I’ll match that here. In order to release that initial portal of higher education becomes available. To talk about a free education for everyone, regardless of choice they make between private and public institutions, may be difficult, but certainly expanding Pell Grants here, providing more work-study programs, Americorps, I’ve advocated a million slots, not 150,000 that we have today, where educational benefits become a part of that. I’d provide a sliding scale of incentives, so if you choose careers that are not as lucrative as others are, that your payback of loans would be calibrated to those choices rather than insisting upon everyone paying the same amount back. And college costs are going up all the time. So I’m an advocate for indexing as well.

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate Sep 13, 2007

Incentive pay for tougher schools, but not performance pay

Q: On performance-based pay: Should more effective teachers be paid less than effective ones?

A: I wouldn’t use that approach. We’ve got to re-examine our whole education process, and I’m a believer that we need to have fundamental reform of No Child Left Behind, and start measuring growth, not abandoning schools that aren’t doing well, and providing far less rigid criteria when it comes to highly qualified teachers. I would like to see that we apply additional resources to teachers who will go into the tougher schools in rural or urban America, where they need better teachers coming in, and provide some additional incentives for them, including pay & including the criteria that they have to meet to do so. But I’m not in favor necessarily of giving more preference for a teacher that’s performing somewhat better. Measuring that I think is the wrong direction we’re going in. The idea of discriminating one group of teachers against another in that regard, I think is a huge mistake and I’d oppose it.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on “This Week” Aug 19, 2007

Daughter attends public school

Q: Do you send your kids to public school or private school?

A: My daughter goes to the public school as a kindergarten student.

Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC Jul 23, 2007

Reform No Child Left Behind to invest in failing schools

Getting the No Child Left Behind law right is where we ought to focus our attention, so that we have resources coming back to our states. You measure growth in a child. You invest in failing schools. But I would not scrap it entirely. Accountability is very important in this country. We ought not to abandon that idea.
Source: 2007 YouTube Democratic Primary debate, Charleston SC Jul 23, 2007

Tragedy that Supreme Court overturns Brown desegregation

Q: In light of the recent anti-integration Supreme Court decision, please tell us what would you do to promote an equal opportunity and integration in American public schools and how would you ensure that the courts would hand down more balanced opinions

A: We all sort of agree clearly on appointing judges that will be supportive of precedents in our judicial history here and, obviously, overturning Brown v. Board of Education was one of the great tragedies in recent history & we need to reverse that.

Source: 2007 NAACP Presidential Primary Forum Jul 12, 2007

Shame of resegregation has been occurring in our schools

Q: Is race still the most intractable issue in America?

A: The shame of resegregation has been occurring for years in our country here. The reality that our public educational system is today a segregated system and that we have not taken enough leadership over the years to understand the great damage that has done to our country.

From the earliest education opportunity to the highest level of education opportunity, this is the key to equal access to our society. It is something that can never be taken away from you if you get it. To say today that you’re going to exclude race as a means of allowing for the diversity in our communities is a major step backwards. [We need to] get back on the track to see to it that our country once again will identify with unity as a nation, blind, if you will, to the racial distinctions in our society. That’s the only way we’re going to deal with the new frontiers of the 21st century: the barrios, the ghettos, and the reservations of our society.

Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University Jun 28, 2007

Highest priority is equal educational opportunity

I don’t believe there’s any other issue as important as education. For 26 years, through five terms in the US Senate, I have dedicated myself to this issue.

I’m proud to have authored the first child care legislation in this country, to begin in the earliest days to make sure that parents have the assurance that there will be a quality place for their child to be, and an affordable place, an available place, and then to begin with early childhood education, to see to it that we’d have a good Head Start program.

I have walked the walk on these issues; I am committed to these issues. There’s nothing that will be a higher priority to me as president than to see to it that America’s children, from the earliest days of their arrival, certainly through the upper education branches of our educational system, have the equal opportunity. We have an obligation to guarantee an opportunity to that success. The key to that door is the education of the American child.

Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University Jun 28, 2007

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

More foreign languages courses and exchange students.

Dodd co-sponsored a Resolution on international education policy

    Concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that the United States should establish an international education policy to enhance national security, significantly further U.S. foreign policy and economic competitiveness, and promote mutual understanding and cooperation among nations. Includes among policy objectives:
  1. producing citizens with a high level of international experience;
  2. promoting greater diversity of locations, languages, and subjects involved in teaching, research, and study abroad;
  3. increasing participation in internships abroad;
  4. invigorating citizen and professional international exchange programs;
  5. supporting visas and employment policies that promote increased numbers of international students;
  6. encouraging programs that begin foreign language learning in the United States at an early age;
  7. promoting educational exchanges and research collaboration with American educational institutions abroad; and
  8. promoting partnerships among government, business, and educational institutions and organizations to provide adequate resources for implementing this policy.
Source: Resolution sponsored by 12 Senators 01-SR7 on Feb 1, 2001

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

Dodd 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: Chris Dodd on other issues:
CT Gubernatorial:
Jodi Rell
CT Senatorial:
Linda McMahon
Richard Blumenthal
Rob Simmons

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