Democratic presidential candidate and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is touting his education plan again, this time, on a campaign stop in Florida. One of things he likes to highlight is his call to raise the national average for teacher starting salaries to $40,000 by providing money to states (though he's not calling for a full-fledged federal law requiring the raises.) According to his plan, the cost would be $2.1 billion a year (which, incidentally, he'll pay for through savings by withdrawing troops from Iraq and other defense-oriented savings.) According to the American Federation of Teachers latest salary ...


For better or for worse, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who's in the crowded field of GOP presidential contenders, has been getting a lot of attention lately in blogs and media columns. Read the National Review's "Dump the Huck" and a New York Times column, "Who Doesn’t Heart Huckabee?" Though his fundraising lags the front-runners, some are speculating Huckabee could be a vice presidential pick, especially because he's solidly pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-religion—which would be attractive to the Republican right. He had an unexpected 2nd place showing in an Iowa straw poll in August, and comes across as ...


The National Education Association isn't just spending its 2007 election dollars in Utah, trying to defeat vouchers. The 3.2 million-member NEA is also at work in the state of Washington, where the country's largest teachers' union has spent at least $450,000 to support a state referedum that would make it easier for school districts to pass levies to raise additional property tax revenue for district coffers. You can read more about their support in today's Seattle Times story. The state ballot resolution would change the vote margin needed to approve a levy—from the "super-majority" of 60 percent ...


If you listened to or watched Sunday's Republican presidential debate on Fox News, held in Orlando, Fla, you would have thought that vouchers and school choice will solve all of our education ills. How do we fix the No Child Left Behind Act? With free markets, vouchers, and school competition, according to former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson. What about re-engaging teachers, many of whom have been disenfranchised as part of NCLB? Again, vouchers are the answer, according to Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor. He and Thompson were the only candidates who got a chance to answer ...


Here's a follow-up on a recent post about the Louisiana governor's race: Republican U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal did, indeed, capture a majority of votes during Saturday's primary, catapulting him to the governor's office in January without having to go through a run-off in November. Read the New York Times story here. He becomes the first Indian-American to become the state's CEO, and will be the nation's youngest governor, at age 36. He will replace Democrat Kathleen Blanco, who decided not to seek re-election. While I pointed you to Jindal's education proposals in an earlier post, it's also worth noting ...


The referendum on private school vouchers in Utah, which is the most heated education battle in an otherwise quiet off-election year, could provide an endless supply of fodder for this blog. But Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s entry into this debate merits special attention. Gov. Huntsman, a Republican, is extremely popular in Utah and also a supporter of vouchers. He signed the bill into law, which would give every public school student a voucher, worth up to $3,000, for private school tuition. Proponents of the universal voucher program--the first in the country--have been quietly grousing about Huntsman's lack ...


Republican Mitt Romney, at a campaign stop Wednesday in Iowa, proposed linking the amount of federal college aid for students to the careers they're seeking. You can read the Associated Press story here. According to the AP account, Romney said he liked the idea of linking the amount of financial aid with the "contributions" students will make to society. However, he provided no details on which career paths would be linked to greater financial aid and whose contributions would count more than others. How much financial aid would a teacher's contribution be worth? Or a scientist's? Or an art historian's? ...


Residents of Louisiana, who are facing tremendous challenges as they rebuild the school system in New Orleans, could find out next week who will be their new governor come January. The state of Louisiana puts an interesting twist on its governor's election by putting all candidates, regardless of party, on the same ballot in an open primary contest, this year to be held on Oct. 20. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote then there's a run-off election, which would be held Nov. 17. This year, they may not be a run-off. The latest polls, as ...


Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards wasn't the only Democratic presidential candidate talking about schools today. In New Hampshire at Manchester High School West, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson unveiled his education plan. He wants to get rid of the No Child Left Behind Act (as he has noted regularly on the stump), bring full-day prekindergarten to all 4-year-olds, and pay teachers an average starting salary of $40,000. He dips his toe into the national standards debate by proposing a committee that would develop voluntary national standards. In his speech today, he also tsk-tsked Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of ...


Although much of education reform talk focuses on large, urban school districts, let's not forget that 20 percent of U.S. students go to smaller, rural schools, which have their own academic achievement issues, according to the Rural School and Community Trust. The presidential candidates, who are campaigning in the rural and early-voting states of Iowa and South Carolina, are mindful of this. Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards, a former U.S. Senator from North Carolina, today unveiled his plan to help rural schools. Among his ideas is to create a National Teacher University to attract those who will teach ...


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