In Sen. Barack Obama's new education plan, his ideas for reforming the teaching profession are substantial, expensive, and have the potential to result in fairly dramatic changes in the teaching profession. I discussed this with one of my colleagues on the teacher beat here at Education Week, Bess Keller, who helped me navigate my way through the Illinois Democrat's detailed plan. Obama wants to get serious about recruiting by offering $25,000 "teaching service" scholarships to talented, high-performing teacher candidates who agree to teach in a high-need area or subject for at least four years. His $18 billion plan calls ...


Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., released a detailed education plan in New Hampshire this morning. It’s long on detail when it comes to teacher pay, early childhood education, and expanding federal college outreach … but somewhat skimpy when it comes to what is arguably the biggest education question in Congress these days: how states should be held accountable for student progress under a reauthorized No Child Left Behind Act. Obama said he wants to “reform” the law and repeats perennial Democratic criticisms about a lack of adequate funding by the Bush administration. His most interesting proposal calls for helping states expand ...


One of the few issues in education that divides Democratic front-runners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in this presidential campaign is merit pay. Yesterday, Sen. Clinton criticized the idea during a campaign stop at an Iowa elementary school. While the senator from New York said she supports the less controversial idea of incentives for teachers who work in high-need areas, Clinton, who won the endorsement of the American Federation of Teachers in October, denounced the idea of merit pay as "demeaning and discouraging." (However, she does like the idea of school uniforms for students.) Teachers' unions usually fiercely oppose the ...


School choice has continued to be a hot political topic over the last several months, especially with the referendum that failed miserably in Utah that would have created the country's first universal voucher program. Often, supporters of vouchers and other school choice options talk about how such efforts could help level the playing field between poorer parents, who may not be able to afford to move out of a failing school district, and wealthier parents, who have greater means to do so. U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut exercised school choice of a different kind today, according to ...


One of his spokesmen seems to think so. Check out this story about Rhode Island Gov. Donald L. Carcieri in the Providence Journal. (You have to scroll down about half-way through this story to get to the Carcieri education secretary nugget.) The Republican governor's communications director told a local talk-radio audience earlier this month that if former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney wins the presidency, there's talk that Carcieri will be tapped as his secretary of education. From the way the article reads, however, Carcieri is by no means a shoe-in for the post. After all, even though campaign season is ...


Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has a new televsion ad up in New Hampshire that focuses on education, sprinkled with some parenting advice. (Over at the Democrats for Education Reform blog, Joe Williams writes that Obama, a Democratic presidential contender, is the first candidate in the race to hit television airwaves with an education-focused ad.) The ad starts by getting personal, as Obama talks about his childhood—that his parents weren't rich, his Dad left when he was very young, but that he still managed to get a good education. He briefly touts his plan for expanding early childhood education and ...


In last night's Democratic debate on CNN, the seven presidential candidates were asked whether they were in favor of the very controversial issue of merit pay for teachers, which is generally fiercely opposed by some of the Democrats' biggest supporters—the teachers' unions. None of the candidates came out in favor of the kind of merit pay in which individual teachers are paid more based on their results in the classroom. Interestingly, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, who is the only Democratic candidate to openly support and talk about merit pay for individual teachers on the campaign trail, didn't jump ...


While most of the education fuss on Election Day last week was over the voucher referendum in Utah, there was another significant, state-level referendum, this one in Washington State where results are still, a week later, neck-and-neck. Although many believed a referendum that would have made it easier for school districts to get property-tax levies approved by voters had failed, days later, we find out differently. As of Election Night, according to the story, the measure was trailing by a seemingly formidable 38,000 votes—what was thought to be a somewhat comfortable lead. But late votes, including mail-in ballots, ...


The issue of immigration has been particularly divisive within the Republican Party and, today, presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, criticized his GOP opponents for backing tuition assistance for children of illegal immigrants. Usually, what this means is states give students whose parents are illegal immigrants the lower-tuition, in-state status if they meet all other residency and academic requirements. Specifically, Romney targeted former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani for providing tuition breaks for illegal immigrants at City University, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for supporting 2005 legislation in Arkansas that would have granted in-state ...


This is the kind of support—and headline—voucher proponents probably don't need: "Two polygamous burgs back vouchers," Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 12, 2007. Vouchers are controversial enough on their own—and certainly were during the Utah referendum—without being linked to polygamy (though associated with the Mormons, polygamy is illegal and shunned by the Mormon Church)....


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