If you haven't read Sara Mead's piece in The American Prospect on education in the presidential race, it's definitely worth a look. It's pro-John Edwards, but Mead, a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation, also uses the forum to highlight shortcomings among other Democratic frontrunners. On New York's Sen. Hillary Clinton: "As the Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton has little incentive to engage on controversial K-12 education issues..." And, on Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, she points out that in a July speech to the National Education Association, he promised to roll out a comprehensive teacher-quality initiative...for which ...


The biggest showdown over any children’s issue this year in Congress will undoubtedly be over health care, and specifically, the state and federally funded program for low-income children called SCHIP. Any teacher or school official can tell you that children's health--from the treatment of acute illness to the management of chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes--can have a direct effect on their ability to learn. Last week, the House and Senate approved expanding SCHIP to cover an additional 4 million low-income kids, at a pricetag of $35 billion over 5 years (courtesy of a hike in the cigarette ...


There are big problems in education. The achievement gap. High dropout rates. Struggling urban schools. But this week, some presidential candidates are sniping about something that will do little to address any of those issues: whether the issue of same-sex marriage belongs in an elementary school classroom. Republican Mitt Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts (where same-sex marriage is legal), lashed out at the Democratic candidates for their answers to a question during a debate on Wednesday night in New Hampshire sponsored on MSNBC. They were asked if they would approve of a teacher reading a story to 2nd graders ...


While most people are keenly aware of the 2008 presidential race, there’s also a spirited race for governor in Kentucky that’s been pretty negative—with some of the harshest criticism involving religion in schools. Former Kentucky Attorney General Steve Beshear, a Democrat, is facing incumbent Republican Ernie Fletcher, who is trying to hang onto his seat after a political-hirings-and-firings scandal that mired his first term. The two are in a tight race for the Nov. 6 election, with polls showing Fletcher may be trailing. Beshear is taking a political beating for issuing an opinion as Attorney General—26 ...


Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards may be putting the cart before the horse -- or, in education lingo -- the preschooler before the kindergartner. While his education plan unveiled last week focuses on reforming the No Child Left Behind Act, giving incentive pay to teachers in high-poverty schools, and bringing federally funded preschool to more 4-year-olds, his proposal didn't address whether 5-year-olds should spend all day in kindergarten. The Reno Gazette-Journal in Nevada took note of this and asked Edwards in a telephone interview about whether he supported full-day kindergarten. His response was perplexing: "Let me think about that," Edwards ...


South Carolina's poor, rural schools are getting attention from the Presidential hopefuls again. Democratic U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York makes her ad debut in South Carolina today, with a heavy focus on education. She continues her campaign mantra that middle- and lower-income families will not be "invisible" if she is elected president. Clinton hits on South Carolina's so-called "Corridor of Shame" --a stretch of low-performing, rural schools along Interstate 95. The struggle of these schools was chronicled in a 58-minute documentary, called "Corridor of Shame: The Neglect of South Carolina's Rural Schools," made in 2005. Clinton ...


John Edwards is unveiling his education platform today in DesMoines, Iowa. He promises to build a universal preK program, to improve the quality of teachers, and to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act. To replace what his campaign calls NCLB's "unproven cookie-cutter solutions," the former U.S. senator from North Carolina would model attempts to fix failing schools on a current program in his home state. He would create a School Success Fund that would assign experienced educators to help distressed schools improve. He also would try to increase the pool of successful schools, either by expanding existing ones ...


That’s the mantra of Reg Weaver, the president of the National Education Association, who didn’t want to talk about how much money his national teachers’ union was going to give to its Utah affiliate, which is in a fierce ballot fight to get the country’s first universal voucher law off the books in Utah. This statewide referendum will be one of the most interesting education elections to watch on Nov. 6. Last week, I asked him six different ways how much the NEA will spend to defeat vouchers. Weaver refused to bite, insisting that the real issue ...


The Washington Post has a nifty feature on its site called “The Fact Checker” that attempts to provide the facts behind the presidential candidates’ political spin, and a recent post tackles the issue of just how smart we are. Sparking the post was former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel’s proclamation that Americans are getting “dumber.” He made that announcement on Yahoo’s Democratic Candidate Mashup, which is also worth visiting because you can play video snippets of the Democratic presidential candidates’ views on education. While the Post’s Fact Checker asserts we aren’t getting dumber, there are plenty of ...


The next 14 months will be pivotal for education. Not only is there a presidential race next year, but control of Congress is also at stake at a time when the federal No Child Left Behind Act is up for reauthorization. But let’s not forget about the states—the laboratories of education reform. This year, the nation’s first universal voucher program will be voted on in Utah. Voters in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana will elect governors. And 2008 will be an even busier year for states. Here, we’ll talk about these important campaigns and elections, what education ...


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