School Information System
Newsletter Sign Up |

Subscribe to this site via RSS: | Newsletter signup | Send us your ideas

September 11, 2008

Obama & McCain on Federalism & Schools

Sam Dillon:

Senator Barack Obama learned how hard it can be to solve America's public education problems when he headed a philanthropic drive here a decade ago that spent $150 million on Chicago's troubled schools and barely made a dent.

Drawing on that experience, Mr. Obama, the Democratic nominee for president, is campaigning on an ambitious plan that promises $18 billion a year in new federal spending on early childhood classes, teacher recruitment, performance pay and dozens of other initiatives.

In Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday, Mr. Obama used his education proposals to draw a contrast with Senator John McCain, his Republican opponent, and to insist to voters that he, more than his rival, would change the way Washington works.

Were he to become president, Mr. Obama would retain the emphasis on the high standards and accountability of President Bush's education law, No Child Left Behind. But he would rewrite the federal law to offer more help to high-need schools, especially by training thousands of new teachers to serve in them, his campaign said. He would also expand early childhood education, which he believes gets more bang for the buck than remedial classes for older students.

Sam Dillon:
Among his short list of initiatives, Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, includes bonus pay for teachers who raise student achievement or who take jobs in hard-to-staff schools, an expansion of after-school tutoring, and new federal support for online schools and for the voucher program in Washington, D.C.

The brevity of Mr. McCain's plan reflects his view that the federal government should play a limited role in public education, and his commitment to holding the line on education spending, said Lisa Graham Keegan, a McCain adviser and former Arizona education commissioner.

"Education is obviously not the issue Senator McCain spends the most time on," Ms. Keegan said, adding that his plan's limited scope should not be interpreted as a lack of commitment to education and school reform. "He's been a quiet and consistent supporter of parents and educators who he thinks are making a difference."

Posted by Jim Zellmer at September 11, 2008 4:22 AM
Subscribe to this site via RSS/Atom: Newsletter signup | Send us your ideas