A lot of people, and not just Republicans, have been waiting for John McCain to unveil his thinking about education policy. While Barack Obama has made multiple speeches on the subject (most recently to both teacher union conferences) and has elaborate position papers on his campaign website, the Arizona senator said little, except for tantalizing bits about his own education. Last month, however, McCain advisor Lisa Graham Keegan predicted that he would soon address this issue. She was right. Today in Cincinnati, at the NAACP convention, McCain framed an ambitious and fairly comprehensive array of education reforms and asked civil rights leaders to join him in pressing for them. It included some familiar GOP refrains (school choice, especially) but also moved in such interesting new directions as virtual education, giving budgetary authority to school principals, alternative certification for teachers and several forms of differential pay, including more money for teachers who work in "troubled schools". It begins to look possible that education will turn into a bona fide election issue after all-and that differences between the presidential candidates in this sphere will actually prove interesting and salient.

Update: The text of his prepared speech is here.


Liam Julian

Perhaps the U.S. could foment more such strikes in other nations, and thereby give its students a better shot on comparative??international tests.??In the U.K.:

Unions said that more than half a million workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland joined a 48-hour walkout in protest at a 2.45 per cent pay offer.

The effects of the dispute, which involved everyone from lollipop ladies and teaching assistants to driving examiners, were felt across the country.

What's a lollipop lady? Not sure I want to know, actually.

Liam Julian

The candidate's education plan is available. From a reform standpoint, there really is??much to like.

Liam Julian

Will variations on this wine trick never grow old? Never, it seems.

Yes, there is an education angle .

Liam Julian

Why don't we??round up??some Los Angeles high school students, put them in a room together, and ask them to pontificate??about why Asian students do better academically than Latino students? I'm sure??what they say will be revelatory; I'm sure??we're not wasting their time and filling their heads with nonsense.

Liam Julian

This fall, Denver Public Schools will introduce the Mile High Parent Campaign, which encourages moms and dads to devote 5,280 minutes a year to their children's educations. Cities situated at lower elevations are advised not to emulate the plan.

In other news from my hometown, ProComp, widely touted as the nation's model merit pay plan, is provoking some nasty skirmishes between district and union leaders.

Critics of NYC schools chancellor Joel Klein (of which there is at least one important one in this office) and/or Al Sharpton (ditto) may not like reports that the duo is taking its Education Equality Project on the road. Ed reform's new odd couple recently met with Obama staffers in Chicago, and word is that McCain may officially sign onto the project today when he talks education at the NAACP convention in Cincinnati.

John McCain is supposed to take the stage in 40 minutes at the NAACP convention in Cincinnati. Not only is he going to talk about education as Liam and Coby have mentioned, but he's going to follow Clint Bolick's advice and speak strongly in support of school choice. The Associated Press reports,

In excerpts released ahead of his speech, McCain says that the worst educational problems in the country are often found in schools in black communities and that he will provide greater school choices and scholarships for such students.

Details to follow.

"We Need Someone Like Michelle Rhee" proclaims an editorial headline in the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo . Apparently, the D.C. Chancellor of Schools is playing an inspirational role in the upcoming election for Seoul's superintendent of education. Particularly noteworthy: her innovative merit pay scheme, her consolidation of schools, her shake up of school leaders, and, of course, rising test scores.

While the editorial does not support one candidate in particular, it does take the time to speak out against the candidate on the "leftwing" (their word, not mine) Korean Teachers and Education Workers' Union ticket. Specifically, this candidate argues against school choice and publishing academic achievement levels. The editors explain:

But in order to save our schools from being carried away by efforts to make all schools uniform and face lowered education standards in the process, we must let students and parents choose which high schools they want to attend and promote competition among teachers by letting everyone know which schools excel and which lag behind.


Chosun Ilbo covered Rhee's reforms in more depth yesterday ....