Tuesday, January 29

Just the Facts: McCain Education Plan

John McCain's education plan can be summarized with three words: Excellence, Choice and Competition. For the complete plan, you can visit his campaign web site.

McCain believes American education must be worthy of the promise we make to our children and ourselves. He understands that we are a nation committed to equal opportunity, and there is no equal opportunity without equal access to excellent education.

Public education should be defined as one in which our public support for a child's education follows that child into the school the parent chooses. The school is charged with the responsibility of educating the child, and must have the resources and management authority to deliver on that responsibility. They must also report to the parents and the public on their progress.

The deplorable status of preparation for our children, particularly in comparison with the rest of the industrialized world, does not allow us the luxury of eliminating options in our educational repertoire. McCain will fight for the ability of all students to have access to all schools of demonstrated excellence, including their own homes.

No Child Left Behind has focused our attention on the realities of how students perform against a common standard. McCain believes that we can no longer accept low standards for some students and high standards for others. In this age of honest reporting, we finally see what is happening to students who were previously invisible. While that is progress all its own, it compels us to seek and find solutions to the dismal facts before us.

McCain believes our schools can and should compete to be the most innovative, flexible and student-centered, not safe havens for the uninspired and unaccountable. He believes we should let them compete for the most effective, character-building teachers, hire them, and reward them.

If a school will not change, the students should be able to change schools. McCain believes parents should be empowered with school choice to send their children to the school that can best educate them just as many members of Congress do with their own children. He finds it beyond hypocritical that many of those who would refuse to allow public school parents to choose their child's school would never agree to force their own children into a school that did not work or was unsafe. They can make another choice. McCain believes that is a fundamental and essential right we should honor for all parents.

As president, McCain will pursue reforms that address the underlying cultural problems in our education system---a system that still seeks to avoid genuine accountability and responsibility for producing well-educated children.

McCain will place parents and children at the center of the education process, empowering parents by greatly expanding the ability of parents to choose among schools for their children. He believes all federal financial support must be predicated on providing parents the ability to move their children, and the dollars associated with them, from failing schools.


Melissa said...

Education is a hot topic for me....probably because I've experienced all the choices! I worry when candidates talk about letting parents choose SAFER schools for their children. Shouldn't they fix ALL the schools to make them safer and leave everyone where they are supposed to be? Who, when given the choice, will leave their kids in an "unsafe" school? This makes no sense to me! What if the kid that is the problem is allowed to leave the unsafe school to go to a safer one, thus making the new school unsafe? Does that make sense?

But, instead of making schools safer, let's do mandatory preschool for 4-year olds (Clinton's plan)!! Good grief! I know it all isn't that simple, but it is sad that the media and society place such high value on schools. Kids need to be educated at home on acceptable behavior and just have to go to school to learn academics and arts! Argh! So many people have such a hands-off approach to their child's education and we wonder why the system is failing.

I'm now stepping off my soapbox.

2 Boys' Mom said...

I agree with Melissa. All the schools should be made safe. Besides who gets first choice on sending their child to a "safe" school? I didn't see any mention of that.

I personally find the whole school issue sad. I'm trying to get my 3 year old into preschool this fall and was informed by the administrator of the reputed "best preschool" in the area that they were full for his class 2 1/2 years ago because people preregistered their kids at birth!!! I can only imagine the mess that would make with enrollment of kids k-12 and the cost and fighting you would have to go through to get your child into the "best" school.

Laura said...

I found your link from a comment you made on Mom-101. This year I'm making a conscience effort to keep up on all the stuff about the elections and the candidates.
Your site will make that so much easier for me. Thank you. I'm eager to go back and read all that you've already added.

Anonymous said...

Regarding preschool, I wouldn't be in favor of making it mandatory, but I would favor optional publicly-funded preschool. Let's face it, if preschool was offered as an option, many more parents would choose to send their kids. I guess I disagree with the position that preschool interferes with kids being able to be kids. In fact, I imagine most kids probably like going to preschool. Also, I could be wrong about this, but I think there are studies that show that kids that go to preschool generally have an advantage over kids that don't. There may be a lot of other factors that contribute to those findings, but I think the premise is generally supported by educators.

Lola said...

Allowing parents to choose where their children go to school is good in theory, and I agree that that should be the case. But I see so many problems with that.

If you take children out of a low-performance school and place them in a high-performance school, that could cause potential problems for the high-performance school.Such as overcrowding, which in my opinion, is a major problem. It causes teachers to be overworked, and students don't get the individual attention they need.

I think the better solution would be to take those low-performance schools and make them places where parents want to have their children get their educations.

Instead of the government saying "Here's the standard. Now reach it." the government should take steps to help lesser schools reach those standards. I'm not quite sure how. If I knew that, I'd be the one running for President.

Laura said...

ok, we all agree it would be best is the "unsafe" low performance schools were fixed, but some school boards, principals, cities, etc, aren't willing or able to make the necesary changes (and it's not something the federal govt or president alone can fix- all they can do is withhold federal fundaing). If parents have the option to take their child out and put him in a better school, it creates competion- the bad school loses some of the funding from that student and the student takes some funding to the better school. The bad school can then make changes if its seeing it is loosing its students, or it can stay pathetic and loose more students to better schools. As for the over crowding, if students are pouring into the better school, that school will need to hire more teachers and build necesary facilities or its quality will also go down and it will loose students!
oh the beauty of competition!!

Anonymous said...

Does it not concern you that people keep talking about the good and bad "schools". Since when was safety in schools determined by test scores? The school is no better than the students in it, and, quite frankly, education starts at home. I have found that the parents that are dying to pull their kids out of "unsafe" schools are the same parents that blame the teachers and administrators when their children misbehave. If you want to fix education, let the teachers teach... period.

Why are schools competing??? Isn't the purpose of public education to ensure that all children get a good education?

Clare said...

Many people have already said it but again how many kids get to leave before the "good schools" are overcrowded and can no longer accept more kids. So what happens to the "bad school" that has less money so can't even attempt tp fix things.
Also how will the buses hand;e this new system? Drive all over a county taking kids to all the different schools?
And mellissa I ma so w/ you on pre-school. Kids can be kids while learning basic subjects. If a child can learn a language easier when they are young why not other topics. And why do set the example tht school is miserable by telling children to enjoy playing and avoid school as long as possible?

Anonymous said...

If parents were on board and committed to supporting their children's TEACHERS because we are the ones that devote our LIVES to the job, there would be more success in schools. All too many parents see school as free babysitting and forget that we are a team. So McCain's idea is lovely, but it will flop in the areas it is designed to do the most help because part of the problem in those areas is a lack of support from the home. Granted, working full time is often part of that lack in support, but it certainly doesn't stop a lot of single full time working parents out there from teaching their child morals and values. Teachers used to be respected professionals. These days, people act like a teacher is out to get them. Get off all of your soapboxes and realize that the NCLB act has only made many teachers far overworked and thus takes AWAY from your child's education.

Anonymous said...

I am a 15 year old high school sophomore who has experienced the failures of NCLB firsthand. One of my friends who today is a prolific reader with a high level of analysis and understanding was singled out for "remediation" a few years ago. The only reason? She experienced anxiety during a standardized test and couldn't finish in time. She had to battle her way out of an extra class that didn't help her at all and today is thriving in an honors English class. Since elementary school, we have had the state standards drilled into our heads and been "taught to the test". This method of instruction discourages independent and creative thought. To be accepted and succeed at America's top colleges today, students must be strong writers who can delve into sources of information, construct their own arguments, and support them with text examples, facts, and events. NCLB is no path to success, and education has become an aspect in which America is steadily falling behind

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't we be concentrating on raising the bar in ALL shools? I can understand how school choice could be a solution to promoting higher excellence in public schools, but the reality is that some public schools just are not equipped to make the needed changes. And, what about the families who cannot send their children to the "better" school due to location or transportation? Isn't that a catalyst to separate the haves fromt the have nots?

Anonymous said...

Before parents get too excited about choosing schools they should take a look at the burden placed on the schools they choose (ex. overcrowding, lack of funding for the necessary personnel, and creating problems for good performing schools). The grass is not always greener on the other side when it is trampled with more traffic. Think about this. Your child is in a school where a teacher and assistant are working with 18 - 20 children each day but the school you change your child to has only one teacher and 29 -30 children. Is your child in the best educational situation then?

Anonymous said...

i think that if a school is unnsafe, you really cant change the fact that it unsafe, becuase generally it means the neighborhood is unsafe. i am curently a 10th grade student and am trying to get my parents to vote for obama, he seems to have the most interest in todays youth and young adult education. and as for the amount of money either of the candidates plan to spend on education is just to little, i have recently learned that obama plans to only spend 400million on education, that may be good for one state, but what about the others, no, i think that they need to think long and hard about todays education. i mean, come on, i want to go to college, but i dont know if i can go becuase of finance, is any one of them planing on helping students with that problem?

Educational Planning said...

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