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McCain vs McCain on Teacher Quality


So John McCain wants to cut back on teacher-certification standards. And then he wants to weed out the bad teachers.

Here's his quote from last night's debate: "We need to encourage programs such as Teach For America and Troops to Teachers where people, after having served in the military, can go right to teaching and not have to take these examinations which — or have the certification that some are required in some states."

At another point he said, "We need to find bad teachers another line of work."

So what he's saying is that we admit anyone without checks and controls into the teaching profession, and then go about finding and getting rid of the bad ones?

Umm, hold on Senator, but wouldn't it be better if we found good teachers in the first place? Then we wouldn't have to worry about spending as many resources hunting down the bad ones.

As for Barack Obama, he said it was "critically important for us to recruit a generation of new teachers, an army of new teachers, especially in math and science, give them higher pay, give them more professional development and support in exchange for higher standards and accountability."

Obama also spent quite some time appealing to swing- and red-state voters reiterating his support for issues like performance pay and charter schools, and throwing in the fact that his position on these issues has not gone down well with the teachers' unions.

"I support charter schools and pay for performance for teachers. Doesn't make me popular with the teachers' union," he said.

The National Education Association, however, was quick to give a thumbs-up to Obama's performance in last night's debate.

"Senator Obama's vision for the future of this country, and the future of the American economy, couldn't be more different than McCain's. While Obama calls for early-childhood education, professional pay, college affordability, parental involvement, and full funding for critical education programs, McCain calls for more of the same, including voucher schemes and rolling back teacher-certification standards," NEA President Dennis Van Roekel said in a statement.

You can read more about the debate and the candidates' positions on education issues from my colleague Michele McNeil here.


Thank you for pointing out the contradictions in McCain's statements. The mainstream media ddn't seem to notice. Sending people into classroom with no certification or training? Has he been anywhere near a school in tahe last several years? Does he really understand the complex issues facing schools today? I think he is really missing the mark on this issue.
I would like to hear Obama address the flaws in NCLB more clearly, and I was hoping to hear support for reducing class sizes in the early elementary grades.

Thank you for posting this timely blog. As a teacher, I was outraged by McCain's statement concerning soldiers entering the classroom. I was so shocked by his statement that I thought I had misunderstood the sentence.

Like Kelli, I was hoping to hear more concerning the proposed changes to NCLB. However, I was able to extract more information from this debate than the debates of the past.

Kudos to you for updating and posting in such a timely manner!

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