Mike Gravel on Education
Libertarian for President; Former Democratic Senator (AK)
America is not a Christian nation. It is a secular nation. The Constitution protects all forms of religious worship but bars any of them being an official faith.
Religious freedom is enshrined in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” George W. Bush and his religious right allies ought to read that amendment over a few times, to let it sink in. The government shouldn’t have anything to do with faith. Period.
Religious belief cannot be allowed to influence public policy. Science must guide us on climate change, evolution, stem cell research and reproductive rights.
A: Well, we’re failing our children, and let me give the figure, how bad it is. 30%, one-third of our children, do not graduate from high school, and that’s a good number. I’ve been in parts of the country where it’s 40%. We’re failing? Of course, we’re failing. How can we not fail when we make the No. 1 priority in this country the military-industrial complex? We’re spending more money on our defense than all of the rest of the world put together. There’s no money left to make what should be the No. 1 priority, and that’s education. In Japan, children go to school at 7 in the morning and end at 5. In the US, they get off at 3. In the US, we have all summer off. That’s no way to compete & succeed. We need to get off of this agricultural-educational-designed system we have. Teachers want to get paid? Well, let them work year-round like the rest of the people. We need to have super teachers, and we need competition in education.
A: Well, you do that with leadership. Not just presidential leadership, but empowering the American people so they can make laws. Clearly, the Congress & the president in the las 50 years haven’t been able to do it, because education is not the top priority, and it needs to be. It is in other countries, and it shows. We are going downhill as a nation. We refuse to accept this. We’re stuck in triumphalism, thinking we’re the greatest in the world. Well, boy, start looking at educational statistics around the world and you’ll see we’re far from the greatest in the world, and we’re going downhill. When a third of your children do not graduate from high school, it means that these people are destined to suffer subeconomic existence. No, we are failing, and it’s our leadership that’s failing, and the American people, if they had the power to make laws in partnership with representative government, they could correct this.
To be fair to Gravel, he made this incendiary claim in response to a question citing that obesity had risen to an “all- time high,” SAT scores have declined, and 38% of fourth graders cannot read at basic level. Challenged to “tell Americans that they’re getting fatter and dumber,” Gravel obliged. But is the underlying data correct?
The Facts: According to the CDC, the incidence of obesity among adults increased from 15% in 1980 to nearly 33% in 2004, so there’s no controversy there. The “dumber” part is much more controversial. Average SAT scores have declined a little over the last two years, but that’s because more students are taking the test. A better indicator of the educational skills of the overall student population is the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which concludes that math skills have been rising steadily since 1982.
A: I am.
Q: You are?
A: Stop and think: They’re all talking business as usual, politics as usual. We’re 46th in literacy in the world. 30% of our children do not graduate from high school. What does that mean for the future of this country? And all we get are the same old nostrums, that we need competition in education. Stop and think: Spain, Norway, Finland -- these countries, they’re not the superpower of the world, but they pay for their children, from childhood to Ph.D. levels. Why can’t Americans put education as the top priority? And you can’t do it when you want to expand, as he wants to expand, 100,000 more troops. Who are we going to nuke, who are we going to fight next?
A: My children went to public school and private school, and I’m recommend that we need a little bit of competition in our system of education. Right now, we have 30 percent of our children do not graduate from high school. That is abominable, and that is the problem of both parties.
|Other candidates on Education:||Mike Gravel on other issues:|
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader