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 Teacher quality also outranks the condition of school buildings, outdated textbooks, placing emphasis on the wrong subjects, low expectations of students, students not spending enough time in school, and thankfully, availability of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. ...


Sen. Barack Obama visited a community college in Michigan yesterday to talk about college affordability, reiterating his plans for a $4,000-a-year tax credit to help pay tuition. (I posted his speech below.) More affordable, two-year community colleges, which are often overshadowed by their four-year counterparts in higher ed, can be an important part of the solution, the Illinois Democrat and presumptive presidential nominee has said. And his education plan even includes a fair amount about how he would beef up community colleges. While Obama is talking about making it easier for students to go to college, states are making ...


So it looks like David Brooks' commentary on Sen. Barack Obama's education proposals generated quite a bit of debate among New York Times readers. The paper published four letters-to-the-editor today responding to Brooks' question about whether the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee falls into the education "reform" or "status quo" camps in the Democratic Party, as represented by the signers of a statement from the Education Equity Project and the "Broader, Bolder Approach to Education," respectively. (You can read all about those statements, and Obama's decision to essentially endorse both of them, in my colleague David Hoff's Edweek story). Some of ...


Rep. Timothy J. Walz, D-Minn., a freshman and former teacher who won his seat in an upset victory in 2006, is co-sponsoring a bill that would suspend the accountability provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act, according to my colleague, David Hoff, over at NCLB Act II. If that sounds like a bold move for someone facing a potentially tough re-election battle ... it actually, well, isn't. At least two of the three Republicans vying to take on Walz in the general election have said they would scrap the NCLB law, according to this news report. Still, it's telling that, ...


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