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)....


One could really question the political strategy on the part of the Indianapolis teachers' union after watching this. At issue is the shocking loss of Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson , a Democrat, in Tuesday's election, despite outspending Republican political newcomer, Greg Ballard, by 10-1. Peterson, who is a major champion of charter schools, is known nationally for working to expand options for students in Indianapolis Public Schools' by authorizing 16 charter schools for the city. This growth had prompted IPS Superintendent Eugene White to call for a moratorium last year, declaring that the loss of students was draining money from the ...


When a new governor gets elected, there's a new sheriff in town. And that's bound to mean changes, including in the education realm. Kentucky Gov.-elect Steve Beshear, a Democrat who beat incumbent Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher, already is letting the State Board of Education know who's the boss in Kentucky. The board of education is in middle of a search for a new education commissioner to replace Gene Wilhoit, who left last year to lead the Council of Chief State School Officers. The board had narrowed the choice to four, and was poised to name a new commissioner next ...


In the wake of Tuesday's resounding "no" vote on vouchers in Utah, I thought I'd get some analysis from the two men responsible for financing most of the $7-million-plus political battle (which was more expensive than the state's last governor's race). And they are: the National Education Association's Reg Weaver, and Overstock.com's Patrick Byrne. Byrne, the Utah resident who founded and still leads the Internet shopping site, gave more than $2 million (including some contributions from his family) to the pro-voucher cause. He had a very terse, concise answer for what might have made a difference in swinging more ...


Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, told attendees at a forum yesterday in Iowa what he thinks is the No. 1 problem facing America's schools. Kids are bored. He called it a "huge, stupid mistake" that schools have changed their curriculum to include so much emphasis on math, science, and other core classes at the expense of subjects such as art and music, which may keep students more engaged in school. There's no easy fix to student boredom, especially from the president's vantage. Do you agree with Huckabee that part of the problem with schools today ...


On the same day we learned that voters in Utah decisively shot down the nation's first universal private-school voucher program, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney—who has significant ties to the state—reiterated today that he will promote school choice as part of his education agenda. So where was Romney during the voucher fight in Utah? He pretty much kept quiet, despite pleas from voucher advocates to lend his political capital to the fight. Perhaps he saw the polls, which consistently indicated vouchers as a losing issue in Utah. Or, maybe he was busy in early primary states, such as ...


Utah voters decisively and loudly spoke through the ballot box and repealed what would have been the nation's first universal voucher program, according to unofficial election results. When the legislature approved the law earlier this year, the margin was by a single vote. But the opposition in the general voting public was much stronger. With nearly 97 percent of the votes counted, 62 percent voted against vouchers, 38 percent voted for, during Utah's first "citizens' veto" statewide referendum in 30 years. This is a resounding victory for the law's biggest opponents: the teachers' unions, including the National Education Association, which ...


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