NPR this morning did a segment on just how bipartisan John McCain and Barack Obama really are. (Hat tip to Liam, over at Flypaper.) As an example of just how willing Obama is to break ranks with his party, NPR points to an interview the Illinois Democrat gave to Fox News Sunday, in which he pointed out that he embraces the not-so-Democratic ideas of charter schools and some sort of merit pay for teachers. But this Obama interview on Fox News was from the end of April. That was more than two months ago, before Hillary Clinton dropped out of ...


As the National Education Association's annual convention gets started, the nation's largest teachers' union unveiled its plan to fix schools by 2020. The crux: get rid of the No Child Left Behind Act, diminish the federal role in education while still giving states lots of money. More specifically, the NEA wants the federal government to focus grant money on recruiting, training, and supporting teachers in hard-to-staff schools, better fund Title I and special education, and require states to develop adequacy and equity plans to address funding disparities among school districts. The six-point plan also calls for revamping accountability systems to ...


Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois wants faith-based organizations to get more involved in federal programs, including after-school programs, according to this New York Times story. The story goes on to describe how Obama (and GOP rival Sen. John McCain of Arizona) are courting religious voters. But it doesn't mention one key education demographic: religious homeschoolers, a well-organized and influential group of folks (as anyone who followed the come-from-behind win by Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas in the Iowa Republican caucuses can attest). I wonder what (if anything) McCain can do to get them excited about his candidacy. ...


There's been a lot of dust-up over the fact that sometimes, Barack Obama doesn't wear a flag pin on his lapel. So in hopes of assuring people that he really, really is patriotic, he delivered this speech yesterday about patriotism, in which he emphasized the role of schools in turning kids into good Americans: The loss of quality civic education from so many of our classrooms has left too many young Americans without the most basic knowledge of who our forefathers are, or what they did, or the significance of the founding documents that bear their names. Too many children ...


Because respondents in a new Associated Press poll list it as the most significant problem facing their child's school. Forty-seven percent think getting and keeping good teachers is a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem. Teachers are a bigger issue than overcrowding, lack of student discipline (which came in second), and school violence. Teacher quality also outranks the condition of school buildings, outdated textbooks, placing emphasis on the wrong subjects, low expectations of students, students not spending enough time in school, and thankfully, availability of athletic fields (26 percent think this is a serious problem!) A good chunk of Barack ...


A new poll out today reaffirms the obvious: Voters are really worried about their pocketbooks. Education ranks third as the most important issue this year, behind gas prices, and jobs and the economy, according to a poll taken last month by Lake Research Partners and sponsored by the Public Education Network. If you read the poll more closely, you can find some interesting nuggets about adults' attitudes toward the No Child Left Behind Act. (The most detailed polling information is in the PowerPoint presentation found here). First, adults don't seem to be nearly as opposed to the law as some ...


No, this isn't a merit-pay plan to reward teachers for performance. But, it's along those same lines—and I'm thinking this might be a good idea. John McCain is offering a $300 million prize to someone who develops a car battery that will "leapfrog" the current technology that powers our traditional cars and even newer hybrids. The goal, of course, is to drive down oil prices. In his remarks yesterday, McCain pointed out that many advancements—such as the mapping of the human genome—can be traced back to American inventors, and "often to the foresighted aid of the United ...


There are a lot of freshmen on the House Education and Labor Committee, but only one shows up on The Fix's latest list of most competitive House races: Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H. The No Child Left Behind Act was one of Shea-Porter's favorite targets back in 2006, when she unseated Rep. Jeb Bradley, a Republican. (He wasn't in Congress in 2001, when the law was passed). Shea-Porter equated the law with President Bush and pledged to work to scrap it. She called it an attempt by "right-wing Republicans" to “undermine our confidence in our public schools" to create a ...


Jeb Bush and Margaret Spellings....


One of the most disturbing things I heard today during a press conference about state budget conditions was this: the economic downturn in many states could last three or four years. That's about as long as the next president's first term. Even if the national economy takes an unexpected upward swing, states are always slower to come out of slumps. Ray Scheppach, the executive director of the National Governors Association, explained that it's because states typically don't feel the negative impact from unemployment (which means fewer dollars coming in from income taxes) until months after job losses hit their peak. ...


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