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John Edwards on Education

Democratic Nominee for Vice President; NC Jr Senator


FactCheck: NCLB might be under-funded, but it grew 58%

Cheney and Edwards both made misleading statements about each other's education records, specifically on the No Child Left Behind law. Cheney claimed "they were for it; now they're against it." But while Kerry has criticized the law as being underfunded, he has not called for the law's repeal. Edwards claimed "No Child Left Behind [funding is] $27 billion short today." In fact, overall federal funding for education grew 58% in Bush's first three years, though many say even more is required.
Source: Edwards-Cheney debate analysis (Ad-Watch by FactCheck.org) Oct 6, 2004

No Child Left Behind is much underfunded

CHENEY: 49 percent increase in funding for elementary and secondary education under No Child Left Behind.

EDWARDS: They didn't fund the mandates that they put on the schools all over this country. That's one of the reasons 800 teachers have been laid off in Cleveland. 1/3 of our public schools are failing under the Bush administration. Half of African-Americans are dropping out of high school. Half of Hispanic-American are dropping out of high school. We have a clear plan to improve our public schools that starts with getting our best teachers into the schools where we need them the most by creating incentives for them to go there.

CHENEY: We are making significant progress there. We are closing the achievement gap. The results coming in from a number of studies show, without question, that on math and reading, that in fact our minority students, our Hispanic and African-American students are doing better, and that gap between them and the majority population is, in fact, closing.

Source: [Xref Cheney] Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

Give public schools the resources that they need

None of us believe that the quality of a child's education should be controlled by where they live or the affluence of the community they live in. We can build one school system that works for all our kids, gives them a chance to do what they're capable of doing. Our plan will reform our schools and raise standards. We can give our schools the resources that they need. We can provide incentives to put our best teachers in the subjects and the places where we need them the most.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention Jul 28, 2004

Higher teacher pay in low-income schools

I support higher pay for teachers, especially in low-income schools; smaller high schools: afterschool programs; offering a free year of college at a public university to students who work 10 hours per week; and other education measures.
Source: 2004 Presidential National Political Awareness Test Mar 3, 2004

Two public school systems: one for rich, one for others

EDWARDS: We not only have two Americas because of the people who are doing very well financially and the rest of America, I think we've got two public school systems in this country. We've got one for the most affluent communities and one for everybody else. It's wrong.

SHARPTON: I do not think that it is fair to say that there are two Americas. There are many Americas. Our only problem in America is not just class. Many of us have problems that have succumbed to class barriers but still have the race barriers, or the barriers of language if you are Latino, or the barriers of sexual discrimination if you are, one, a woman or gay and lesbian. So I think it's very simplistic to just say that it's two Americas, one for the wealthy, one for the poor. Wealthy [minority] men still face discrimination. Gays and lesbians, they may make a lot of money, they still face discrimination.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary debate at USC Feb 26, 2004

When schools fail, bring in expertise and resources

Q: You voted for No Child Left Behind?

EDWARDS: I did vote for it. As did [Kerry & Kucinich]. The most serious problem with No Child Left Behind, is not just the accountability provisions. We need accountability in order to improve our public schools. But the problem is when they find the school that is struggling, instead of doing the things like bring expertise and resources to the school, to improve the quality of the school that's struggling, that's not what's happening with No Child Left Behind.

Q: When a school is struggling, they give the parents the option to transfer their kids to another public school. They give them afterschool tutoring. How are parents worse off if you identify this school as struggling?

EDWARDS: What about the other kids in the school? The answer is to give incentive pay to our best teachers to get them to teach in schools in less affluent areas, to expand our earlier childhood programs, and doing the same thing with making afterschool available.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary debate at USC Feb 26, 2004

Private school vouchers drain resources from public schools

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

A: Today, America has two school systems-one for the affluent & one for everyone else. I am committed to giving every child a great education-by investing in excellent teachers for public schools, and by taking a range of other steps. Private school vouchers won't help our public schools, but will instead drain limited resources from those schools. I oppose vouchers.

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

Two school systems: one for the have's, one for have-not's

We still have two public school systems in this country: one for the "haves" and one for the "have nots." We have got to make a commitment as a nation that every child in America, no matter where they live, what the color of their skin or the income of their family, will get exactly the same education as the richest parent in America can afford for their children. That's the commitment we need to make as a people.
Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Pay for college tuition in exchange for part-time work

College for Everyone. Edwards will say to America's young people: we will pay for your first year of college tuition at a public university or community college, if you will do your part in school and work at least 10 hours a week.
Source: Real Solutions For America, campaign booklet by John Edwards Aug 6, 2003

New Deal for Teachers: more pay & scholarships

A New Deal for Teachers.Because a great education starts with a great teacher, Edwards will increase teacher pay, especially in the areas that need good teachers most, and will offer scholarships for young people who commit to tough teaching assignments.
Source: Real Solutions For America, campaign booklet by John Edwards Aug 6, 2003

Free first year of college for all willing to work for it

Q: What about Bush administration policies?

A: I've put forward an agenda that stands up for all Americans. My agenda includes a plan to make the first year of college free for any young person willing to work for it. My agenda for America includes a plan to protect older workers from losing their pensions, a plan to pass a prescription drug benefit and to stop drug companies from keeping less- expensive drugs off the market, and a $2500 family leave tax credit for new parents.

Source: MoveOn.org interview Jun 17, 2003

Voted YES on funding smaller classes instead of private tutors.

Vote to authorize a federal program aimed at reducing class size. The plan would assist states and local education agencies in recruiting, hiring and training 100,000 new teachers, with $2.4 billion in fiscal 2002. This amendment would replace an amendme
Bill S1 ; vote number 2001-103 on May 15, 2001

Voted YES on funding student testing instead of private tutors.

Vote to pass an amendment that would authorize $200 million to provide grants to help states develop assessment systems that describe student achievement. This amendment would replace an amendment by Jeffords, R-VT, which would allow parents of under-per
Bill S1 ; vote number 2001-99 on May 10, 2001

Voted YES on spending $448B of tax cut on education & debt reduction.

Vote to reduce the size of the $1.6 trillion tax cut by $448 billion while increasing education spending by $250 billion and providing an increase of approximately $224 billion for debt reduction over 10 years.
Bill H Con Res 83 ; vote number 2001-69 on Apr 4, 2001

Voted NO on Educational Savings Accounts.

Vote to pass a bill that would permit tax-free savings accounts of up to $2000 per child annually to be used for public or private school tuition or other education expenses.
Bill S.1134 ; vote number 2000-33 on Mar 2, 2000

Voted YES on declaring that memorial prayers and religious symbols at sch.

Vote to declare that erecting religious symbols and praying on public school campuses as part of a memorial service does not violate the First Amendment to the Constitution, and to provide legal assistance to any government entity defending such a case.
Bill S.254 ; vote number 1999-121 on May 18, 1999

Voted NO on allowing more flexibility in federal school rules.

This vote was a motion to invoke cloture on a bill aimed at allowing states to waive certain federal rules normally required in order to use federal school aid. [A YES vote implies support of charter schools and vouchers].
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)55; N)39; NV)6
Reference: Motion to Invoke cloture on Jeffords Amdt #31; Bill S. 280 ; vote number 1999-35 on Mar 9, 1999

Rated 83% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes.

Edwards scores 83% 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: John Edwards on other issues:
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts