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Dennis Kucinich on Education

Democratic Representative (OH-10); Democratic Candidate for President


Vouchers divert public money away from public schools

Q: Do you support allowing parents in areas that are poor or with bad schools to use tax money to help send their children to private schools?

A: No. Sending a few kids somewhere else at the public's expense and leaving the other children in a crumbling school even shorter on funds than before is no solution at all. Vouchers divert public money away from the vast majority of public school students. In most cases, these are the students who need it the most. As president, I will lead in the fight to improve public schools, and oppose alternatives that divert attention, energy, and resources from efforts to reduce class size, enhance teacher quality, and provide every student with books, computers, and safe and orderly schools.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "School Vouchers" Jan 25, 2004

Stop making us a nation of test-takers: free education

Q: You voted for the testing standards of No Child Left Behind. Would you throw it out now?

KUCINICH: Yes, I would. I would replace it with is a new educational structure where the focus would be on helping to bring forth the creativity of our children in stressing arts and language, music; to invite the participation of educational philosophers and psychologists and administrators and teachers and parents and children; to take a new focus on our education, to stop this incessant direction of trying to make us a nation of test-takers, of putting the pressure on teachers to teach to the test, and then school districts depending on the results of those tests for their funding. No Child Left Behind has not worked out the way that anyone thought it would. It's become an unfunded mandate. I would have a universal pre-kindergarten program where children can go to school beginning at age 3, a fully funded elementary and secondary education act, and free college tuition for all America's young people.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College Jan 22, 2004

Establish universal pre-kindergarten programs

Young children who have access to a quality pre-kindergarten education benefit with higher academic achievements, increased graduation rates and decreased juvenile delinquency. [Kucinich] introduced legislation that will expand full-day, full-year quality education programs to all children over the age of three. The Universal Pre-Kindergarten Act will provide funding to establish universal pre-kindergarten programs that build on existing pre-kindergarten initiatives.
Source: Campaign website, www.Kucinich.us, "On The Issues" Aug 1, 2003

Keep public education separate from private education

Good public education has to be supported allowing for all citizens to make this an even better society, while private education must continue to operate free of government regulations.
Source: 1996 Congressional National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1996

Voted NO on allowing school prayer during the War on Terror.

Children's Prayers Resolution: Expressing the sense of Congress that schools should allow children time to pray for, or silently reflect upon, the country during the war against terrorism.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Isakson, R-GA; Bill H.Con.Res.239 ; vote number 2001-445 on Nov 15, 2001

Voted YES on requiring states to test students.

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would authorize $22.8 billion in education funding, a 29 percent increase from fiscal 2001. The bill would require states to test students to track progress.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Boehner R-OH; Bill HR 1 ; vote number 2001-145 on May 23, 2001

Voted NO on allowing vouchers in DC schools.

Vote to create a non-profit corporation to administer federally-funded vouchers for low-income children in the District of Columbia.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Armey, R-TX; Bill HR 4380 ; vote number 1998-411 on Aug 6, 1998

Voted NO on vouchers for private & parochial schools.

Vote to pass a bill to allow states to use certain federal funds designated for elementary and secondary education to provide scholarships, or vouchers, to low-income families to send their children to private schools, including religious schools.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Riggs, R-CA; Bill HR 2746 ; vote number 1997-569 on Nov 4, 1997

Reduce class size to 18 children in grades 1 to 3.

Kucinich sponsored an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act:

    Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to establish a grants program to:

  1. recruit, train, and hire 100,000 additional teachers over a seven-year period ;

  2. reduce class sizes nationally, in grades one through three, to an average of 18 students per classroom; and

  3. improve teaching in the early grades so that all students can learn to read independently and well by the end of the third grade.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR1036 on Mar 14, 2001

Teacher development grants to improve math & science classes.

Kucinich sponsored the National Improvement in Mathematics and Science Teaching Act:

Title: To improve the quality and scope of science and mathematics education.

    Summary: Directs the Secretary of Education to:

  1. make grants to States for improvement and recruitment of quality teachers in science and mathematics education;

  2. make grants to States for professional development of mathematics and science teachers;

  3. establish 15 John Glenn Academies, for summer workshops and intensive, year-long fellowships for 3,000 individuals to prepare them to meet State certification requirements;

  4. establish and operate a National Clearinghouse of Best Practices to coordinate successful and proven professional development opportunities for teachers;

  5. make grants to improve science and mathematics education, and encourage more students to enter the fields of mathematics, science, and technology;

  6. make grants to promote both achievement equity and gender equity in mathematics and science education;

  7. establish a tax credit for businesses that employ science, mathematics, and technology teachers in summer fellowships related to their fields of teaching; and

  8. establish a fair market value tax deduction for charitable contributions of science, mathematics, or technology equipment to public elementary and secondary schools.
Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR117 on Jan 3, 2001

Opposes requiring schools to allow school prayer.

Kucinich sponsored a bill weakening the requirements on voluntary prayer:

H.R.340:

To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to improve the quality of public education and raise student achievement by increasing investment, strengthening accountability, raising standards for teachers, improving professional development and teacher compensation, rewarding successful schools, and providing better information to parents, and for other purposes.
H.R.340: SEC. 10410. SCHOOL PRAYER.
Any State or local educational agency that is adjudged by a Federal court of competent jurisdiction to have willfully violated a Federal court order mandating that such local educational agency remedy a violation of the constitutional right of any student with respect to prayer in public schools, shall be ineligible to receive Federal funds under this Act until such time as the local educational agency complies with such order.
Opposing legislation H.R.1:
No DOE funds shall be available to any educational agency which prevents participation in constitutionally protected prayer in public schools by individuals on a voluntary basis. [This is weakened in HR340 by requiring a federal court ruling on each school district before the removal of DOE funds.]
Source: H.R.340 01-HR340 on Jan 31, 2001

Rated 90% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes.

Kucinich scores 90% by the NEA on public education issues

The National Education Association has a long, proud history as the nation's leading organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Founded in 1857 "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States," the NEA has remained constant in its commitment to its original mission as evidenced by the current mission statement:

To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all.
In pursuing its mission, the NEA has determined that it will focus the energy and resources of its 2.7 million members toward the "promotion of public confidence in public education." The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: NEA website 03n-NEA on Dec 31, 2003

Other candidates on Education: Dennis Kucinich on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

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Peter Camejo
David Cobb
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Michael Peroutka

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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts