August 2008 Archives

The fact that the Republican convention was being scaled back was slowly sinking in with the delegates gathering here.


That's what happened to a national charter schools group that co-sponsored a forum focused in part on education.


The union praises John McCain's running mate for her commitment to public education but calls attention to her lack of experience.


The Alaska Republican is also known for juggling her duties as chief executive with those of a parent.


Democratic nominee calls for the creation of a “new army of teachers” who would be paid higher salaries.


The chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee seemed excited, almost giddy, about Obama’s candidacy.


Students at a school Obama visited are probably more politically engaged than most kids their age.


The retiring NEA president says he made up his mind early on that he would support Obama.


Now that Joe Biden is the vice presidential candidate, he appears to have adopted the education platform of Barack Obama.


The Democrats for Education Reform have apparently arrived on the convention scene.


A major goal of the $60 million effort to promote education in the campaign is to be a player in the transition, whether the winner is McCain or Obama.


Education Week reporter Michele McNeil asks an NEA delegate and teacher why he supports Barack Obama.


Hillary Clinton says she supports Obama for president--and so do the AFT delegates elected to vote for her at the DNC.


Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner used his prime-time keynote speech to stress the link between quality schools and the economy.


NEA President Reg Weaver and AFT President Randi Weingarten spoke with Education Week reporters, shortly after they each addressed the DNC.


With Obama the presumptive nominee, the AFT has shifted its allegiance. Will the union's rank-and-file members follow?


African-American policymakers under the age of 50 are no longer opposing school choice simply because they are following the lead of their allies on other issues.


South Carolina school's chief Jim Rex put childhood obesity on agenda in Denver.


The floor of a political convention is a place unlike any other. I decided to offer Campaign K-12 readers a view of the floor during the speeches by the presidents of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. For the speech by NEA's Reg Weaver, I stood near the Alabama delegation. I chose that spot because NEA's Alabama chapter sent more delegates here than any other state affiliate. While NEA may have a lot of power in the Alabama Democratic Party, the Alabama Democratic Party doesn't have much power with its national party. Because Alabama is about ...


Caroline Kennedy led a tribute to her uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, during the first night of the Democratic National Convention.


The teachers’ unions weren’t the only voices representing teachers on the first night of the Democratic National Convention. Enter Jon Schnur.


Monday of convention week is the day the Democratic Party traditionally squeezes in representatives of some of its biggest constituencies, but ones that it doesn't necessarily want to have a prime-time role.


AFT President Randi Weingarten says she is upset by the anti-teachers' union bent of an education event here yesterday.


Teacher pay may be the biggest education issue at the Democratic National Convention.


Education Week reporter David Hoff asks Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. about the Bush administration's education policy:

Education Week reporter David Hoff videos educator delegates about their views on Sen. Obama's education platform.

The education event that followed the NEA luncheon showed the growing tensions within the Democratic Party over school reform, and the role of teachers’ unions.


The 200-plus NEA delegates from the Democratic National Convention aren’t going to be reading Campaign K-12. If they follow the advice of their union’s staff, they’ll be getting their convention news from stalwart liberal blogs DailyKos, talkingpointsmemo, and others. The blogs will give delegates the news they need “to help direct the conversation toward the association’s goal: Great Public Schools as a Basic Right for Every Student!” says a flier handed out at the lunch. Sample endorsement: americablog.com is “a great place to get anti-McCain information,” the handout says. The advice is no surprise, given ...


Presumptive vice presidential nominee Joe Biden voted for NCLB, but now he regrets it. The Delaware senator said in a presidential debate last year said he voted for the now controversial law in 2001 because he "has great faith in Ted Kennedy," the Massachusetts Democrat who led the effort to ensure its bipartisan passage. It's time to start over on K-12 policy, Biden added. I would scrap it—or I guess, theoretically, you could do a major overhaul. But I think I'd start from the beginning. You need better teachers. You need smaller classrooms. You need to start kids earlier. It's...


During his short-lived campaign for president, Democrat Joe Biden said education would be his top domestic priority. But it's clear that Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois didn't pick Biden as his vice-presidential pick because of domestic issues, but because of his foreign relations credentials. So as David Hoff and I begin our coverage of the convention here in Denver, we're not expecting Biden's speech from the podium of the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night to be a showstopper on education reform. However, it's worth remembering what Biden said on education issues while he campaigned for the No. 1 job. On ...


This EdWeek story does a great job summarizing the new Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll on the the public's attitudes toward public schools.


View Larger Map The country's two largest teachers' unions will be well represented at the Democratic Convention next week. The American Federation of Teachers will have 135 delegates in attendance. The National Education Association will be sending more than 200 delegates—including 22 superdelegates. Their biggest delegation is from Alabama, with 22 members, followed by North Carolina, with 15. But the delegate making the farthest trek comes from Wasilla, Alaska, near Anchorage. That's 3,180 miles from Denver—according to the Google map I included above....


The Democrats are starting to flesh out their speaker line-up for the convention, which starts Monday night. Opening night will feature a tribute to No Child Left Behind architect Sen. Ted Kennedy, and will also feature prime-time speeches by the country's top two teachers' union leaders: Reg Weaver of the National Education Association (who turns over the helm to Dennis Van Roekel) and the American Federation of Teachers' Randi Weingarten. UPDATE: Over at EdWeek's new blog, Teacher Beat, read my colleague Vaishali Honawar's take on the merit pay debate in Denver, and how that ties into the convention....


With the Democratic convention days away, and the GOP confab immediately following, I wanted to let you all know that Education Week's Campaign K-12 will be on the ground in Denver and in St. Paul, bringing you first-hand coverage. We'll be writing stories for our print and online versions of EdWeek, blogging here (of course!), and even experimenting with Twitter. We'll be carrying around trendy backpacks, filled with the latest audio and video equipment (which we may or may not know how to use) as we strive to bring you not just stories, but the sights and sounds of the ...


Earlier this week, I blogged about the education angle of the Democrats' new platform. At the time, the Democratic National Committee didn't have a final, electronic version done so I could share it with you. Well, now it does. It's a 94-page document, but their main policy positions on education start on page 20....


"Inflation Hits Annual Pace Not Seen Since 1991," reads a headline from today's online New York Times. Though you don't have to be a Nobel Prize-winning economist to know the economy's in bad shape, this news just reaffirms that many school districts are in for a long, tough, budget-cutting road ahead of them. The fact that gas prices have skyrocketed is bad enough for school districts struggling to fuel their buses. But other costs are rising too—from food to health care, and even education supplies and books, according to the Consumer Price Index. But making matters worse is that ...


Although Barack Obama's campaign manager lauds the former Virginia governor for his work on the economy, edutypes will remember Mark Warner for his work on high school reform. Warner, who was governor from 2002-06, will deliver the keynote on Tuesday night of the convention. Campaign K-12 will be there to cover it. As the National Governors Association chairman from 2004-05, Warner made redesigning the American high school a priority for this group—traveling the country to participate in town hall meetings on the subject to jumpstart a national dialogue. In November 2004, he penned this commentary for EdWeek, writing: We ...


Minnesota Public Radio had a nearly hour-long conversation yesterday with education advisers for Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, which you can listen to through the station's web site. Former Arizona schools' chief Lisa Graham Keegan for McCain and Steve Robinson, a former science teacher who joined Obama's staff in 2006, discuss teacher quality, No Child Left Behind, and federal K-12 funding. (There's an interesting, pointed exchange that begins around the 46th minute of the broadcast about school choice, and Obama's decision to send his daughters to private school in Chicago while he opposes voucher programs like the one ...


The party platform that Democrats adopted over the weekend in Pittsburgh borrows straight from the Barack Obama playbook, especially when it comes to education. The platform, which is meant to detail the party's policy positions (but is often forgotten soon after the convention), will be formally approved by delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Denver later this month. In writing this blog item, I'm working off the draft that was being considered by the platform committee. A spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee told me in an e-mail today that they don't have the final, electronic version of the ...


There have been a number of names floated around the edublogs as possible Secretary of Education under a potential Obama administration, including former Govs. Roy Romer of Colorado and Jim Hunt of North Carolina. Another name is Linda Darling-Hammond, who has been advising the Obama campaign. And some folks have also mentioned Andrew J. Rotherham, co-director of Education Sector. (I would miss his blog if he got the nod). But it's also possible that if he wins, Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, would look no farther than his own home state of Illinois - at Chicago public schools ...


USA Today editorial writer Richard Whitmire makes that case in an EdWeek commentary you can read here. The gist of Whitmire's piece? John McCain will do more to gut NCLB then will Barack Obama. What do you think? Flypaper thinks his idea isn't so far-fetched. This Week in Education thinks it's true. I'll weigh in on one minor point. Whitmire says that teachers' unions don't need to worry about McCain's support of school choice because vouchers are dead. "Period," he writes. While the idea of federally funded vouchers may be dead, for now, I do think it's too early to ...


From guest blogger Mary Ann Zehr. Ohio’s governor Ted Strickland accompanied presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama yesterday on a campaign visit to Austintown Fitch High School in Youngstown, Ohio. Though the two Democratic politicians didn't talk much about K-12 education, despite the setting, “we did talk about the cost of higher education,” the governor told me in a phone interview. But at Obama's town meeting at the high school, one member of the audience asked him why the federal government hasn’t become more involved in primary and secondary schools, the governor said. “He answered correctly,” in the ...


Sen. John McCain of Arizona wrote an editorial on education, published in the New York Daily News on Sunday. There isn't much in there that's new - in fact, a lot of the text is excerpted from his speech in which he endorsed the statement. Unsurprisingly, he reiterated his challenge to his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, to sign-on to the Education Equality Project's statement. The editorial itself isn't as interesting as the fact that the McCain campaign is willing to give that much ink to education - an issue McCain hasn't seemed particularly passionate about. Also on ...


...from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. I think it goes without saying that she doesn't like it. I can practically hear the sarcasm when she refers to Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein as McCain's "new best friends." Read Alyson's detailed post about what sparked Weingarten's reaction—McCain's endorsement of the Education Equality Project and his criticism of Obama—here....


Presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona today said in a speech to the National Urban League that he would add his name to a statement of principles for education put forth last month by the Education Equality Project. The group, which includes some big name district superintendents, released a statement in June intended to influence the presidential campaigns. It contends that schools need to be held primarily responsible for improving student achievement and that educators must be willing to embrace changes in the way schools are structured in order to bring about improvement, according to this story, by ...


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