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Sarah Palin on Education

Republican Governor (AK); 2008 nominee for Vice President


All "winners" creates generation of entitled little whiners

Everyone's into building their kids' self-esteem by telling them they're all "winners." I understand the good intentions behind this, but I also worry that we're not giving our kids the chance to discover what they're made of. When we don't let them fail, when we tell them every average effort is superlative, we're keeping them from discovering that hidden strength. We may think we're helping them, but really we're holding them back.

In fact, we may be creating a generation of entitled little whiners. I came across an article recently that reported how growing numbers of employers today complain that many young job applicants exhibit all the signs of having been--there's no other wor for it--spoiled. These young people feel entitled to jobs and salaries they haven't earned. They have unrealistic views of their own capabilities. They don't take criticism well, and they demand lots of attention and guidance from their employers.

Source: America by Heart, by Sarah Palin, p.165-166 , Nov 23, 2010

Forward Funding: let districts plan based on advance budget

My budget priorities weren't all about slashing. We increased education funding and committed to a billion dollars into "forward funding" education so that local school districts could know how much they could count on every year. We also increased schoo services for children with special needs and beefed up funding for public safety officers in rural villages. But even with increased funding, I had made the largest veto totals in the state's history. It wasn't the easy path, but it was the right path.
Source: Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin, p.151 , Nov 17, 2009

Supports microevolution, but not that humans came from fish

In an Aug. 2008 vetting session, the conversation turned to the topic of theories of origins. I believed in the evidence for microevolution--that species change occurs incrementally over time. But I didn't believe in the theory that human beings originated from fish that sprouted legs. I believed we came about through a random process, but were created by God.

"But your dad's a science teacher," McCain's adviser objected.
"Yes."
"Then you know that science proves evolution."
"Parts of evolution," I said. "But I believe that God created us and also that He can create an evolutionary process that allows species to adapt.

The adviser winced. I had just dared to mention the C-word : creationism. But I felt I was on solid factual ground. Never had Dad or anyone else convinced me that the earth had sprung forth conveniently stocked with the ingredients necessary to spontaneously generate life; in fact, I thought that idea flew in the face of the evidence I saw all around.

Source: Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin, p.217-218 , Nov 17, 2009

Supports abstinence ed plus contraception vs.explicit sex ed

Many liberal pundits seemed floored by a pregnant teenager, as if overnight they'd all snuck out & had traditional-value transplants. The talking heads began to parrot one line: "If Sarah Palin can't control her own daughter, how can she serve as V.P.?" Some reporters insisted I favored abstinence-only sex education in public schools. "And see?" they said. "It didn't even work for her own daughter."

The media got that wrong too. The only time I had commented on sex education was in an answer to a gubernatorial candidate question asking whether I supported abstinence education versus "explicit" sex education in public schools--what some call the "slip a condom on a banana" show-and-tell curriculum. Given the choice, I answered that I would support abstinence education over "explicit" sex-ed. I never said I didn't support contraception; I did. I also explained about being a longtime subscriber to the philosophy of Feminists for Life, a group of pro-life feminists who do not oppose contraception.

Source: Going Rogue, by Sarah Palin, p.237-238 , Nov 17, 2009

Believes in evolution; "My father's a science teacher"

[During her vice-presidential vetting, McCain's] advisers spent an hour or more with Palin. Palin, unruffled and self-confident, said she got it. [One adviser] asked her about her statements in support of creationism. Did she disbelieve the theory of evolution? "No," she told them, "My father's a science teacher."
Source: The Battle for America 2008, by Balz & Johnson, p.333 , Aug 4, 2009

3-year plan: $1B for early learning, vo-tech, accountability

We promised public education reform--so schools can plan ahead, and bureaucracies do not smother a school's creativity or a student's aspiration. We now take the next step in our three-year education plan--to offer every young Alaskan--rural and urban--the opportunity to learn and work and succeed in the world.

We'll fully forward-fund all our school districts with more than a billion dollars--that's more than 21% of General Fund expenditures. Education is that high a priority. We'll focus on early learning, vo-tech and workforce development, an enhanced University, streamlined operations, we'll hold schools accountable, and we'll encourage opportunities for students with special needs.

Source: Alaska 2009 State of the State Address , Jan 22, 2009

We need more flexibility in No Child Left Behind

PALIN: You mentioned education and I’m glad you did. I say, too, with education, America needs to be putting a lot more focus on that and our schools have got to be really ramped up in terms of the funding that they are deserving. Teachers needed to be paid more. I come from a house full of school teachers. We have got to increase the standards. No Child Left Behind was implemented. It’s not doing the job though. We need flexibility in No Child Left Behind. We need to put more of an emphasis on the profession of teaching. My kids as public school participants right now, it’s near and dear to my heart.

BIDEN: I hope we’ll get back to education because I don’t know any government program that John is supporting, not early education, more money for it. The reason No Child Left Behind was left behind is the money was left behind, we didn’t fund it.

Source: 2008 Vice Presidential debate against Joe Biden , Oct 2, 2008

Never tried to ban books in the Wasilla Library

Q: Did you try to ban books in the Wasilla Library?

A: No. But I got a kick out of that one also. No banned books. No desire to ban a book. That list of banned books, though, that we saw there that included “Harry Potter,” which, of course, had not even been written or published before I was in there. To be accused of banning books, no.

Q: It’s false?

A: False.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview on “Hannity & Colmes” , Sep 17, 2008

Science teacher as dad; believes in teaching evolution

Q: Did you only want to teach creationism in school and not evolution?

A: No. In fact, growing up in a school teacher’s house with a science teacher as a dad, you know, I have great respect for science being taught in our science classes and evolution to be taught in our science classes.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview on “Hannity & Colmes” , Sep 17, 2008

Teach creationism alongside evolution in schools

Earlier this year, she told the Anchorage Daily News that schools should not fear teaching creationism alongside evolution. “Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information.... Healthy debate is so important and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both. And you know, I say this too as a daughter of a science teacher.”
Source: Boston Globe, “A valentine to evangelical base”, p. A12 , Aug 30, 2008

Supports teaching intelligent design in public schools

Palin is a conservative Protestant and has also been a member since 2006 of Feminists for Life, an anti-abortion group. She has supported the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, alongside evolution. She is a member of the National Rifle Association, and has said Alaska’s economic future depends on aggressively extracting its vast natural resources, from oil to natural gas and minerals.
Source: New York Times, pp. A1 & A10, “An Outsider Who Charms” , Aug 29, 2008

294 Alaska public schools progressed under NCLB

Congratulations to the staff at the 294 Alaska public schools that made adequate yearly progress under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) standards for the 2007-2008 school year. Our schools faced a higher bar in 2007-2008 for the percentages of students who score proficient in language arts and math assessments. Congratulations to the many schools that continue to improve in student achievement but may have fallen short in 1 or 2 of the 31 categories schools are held accountable for in NCLB.
Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: August 2008 Newsletter , Aug 20, 2008

School debate should focus on accountability

In education, we are shaping a three-year funding plan to finally shift the school debate from perpetual “money talk” to accountability and achievement! We are focusing on foundational skills needed in the “real-world” workplace and in college.
Source: 2008 State of the State Address to 25th Alaska Legislature , Jan 15, 2008

Committed to providing strong education, including morals

It is our energy development that pays for essential services, like education. Victor Hugo said, “He who opens a school door, closes a prison.” It’s a privileged obligation we have to “open education doors.” Every child, of every ability, is to be cherished and loved and taught. Every child provides this world hope. They are the most beautiful ingredient in our sometimes muddied up world. I am committed to our children and their education. Stepping through “the door” is about more than passing a standardized test. We need kids prepared to pass life’s tests--like getting a job and valuing a strong work ethic. Our Three-year Education Plan invests more than a billion dollars each year. We must forward-fund education, letting schools plan ahead. We must stop pink-slipping teachers, and then struggle to recruit and retain them the next year.
Source: 2008 State of the State Address to 25th Alaska Legislature , Jan 15, 2008

Budget funds education, but will to work is also critical

We’re asking lawmakers to pass a new K-12 funding plan this year. This is an investment that is needed to increase the base student allocation, district cost factors and intensive needs students. It includes $100 million in school construction and deferred maintenance. There is awesome potential to improve education and embrace choice for parents. This potential will prime Alaska to compete in a global economy. Beyond high school, we will boost job training and University options. We are proposing more than $10 million in new funding for apprenticeship programs, expansion of construction, engineering and health care degrees. But it must be about more than funds, it must be a change in philosophy. It is time to shift focus, from just dollars to “caliyulriit,” which is Yupik for “people who want to work.” Work for pride in supporting our families. It’s about results and getting kids excited about their future--whether it is college, trade school or
Source: 2008 State of the State Address to 25th Alaska Legislature , Jan 15, 2008

Court ruling against NEA: state adequately funds education

Alaska has “fully met its constitutional obligation to adequately fund education,” an Anchorage Superior Court ruled today in the case of Moore vs. Alaska. The plaintiffs--which included NEA-Alaska and several school districts--sued the state, asking the court to order significantly more state funding for Alaska schools--seeking to double Alaska’s education budget.

Instead, the Judge left decisions about the state’s education funding formula to the Legislature, and said the court would not determine educational programs. The judge’s ruling said the evidence shows that Alaska has “thorough and appropriate” educational standards and a “finely tuned” method of testing children.

But the state must be more aggressive in overseeing troubled school districts, the judge ruled, citing the Yupiit School District, one of the plaintiffs, in particular. In those schools, the court also found that students haven’t had sufficient opportunity to prepare for the high school exit exam.

Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: Press release 07-154 “Court Rules” , Jun 21, 2007

Fully fund K-12 and support early funding of education

My budget includes fully funding the “K through 12” foundation formula. In addition, I’ve included more than $200 million in new dollars to cover the increased retirement costs for local school districts, so that more local school district dollars get into the classroom, where the money belongs. We’re facing a potential $10 billion PERS/TRS retirement plan shortfall that affects local schools. Our $200 million dollar line item for school districts is part of the half BILLION dollar proposal to help th districts, local governments and the state alleviate the pension plan burden while we work with the Legislature on a long-term solution. I’ve also committed to help provide local school districts with more predictability, for better planning by supporting “early funding of education.” I’ll introduce a separate education appropriation bill and ask that it’s passed. Our local school districts deserve to know what they have to work with early enough for them to create efficiencies through planning
Source: 2007 State of the State Address to 24th Alaska Legislature , Jan 17, 2007

Supports $20 million needs-based aid for U. Alaska

We have no needs-based aid for Alaska students. Governor Murkowski tried to put $20 million in the budget for aid, but the Legislature rejected it. Let’s make our own University available to students who might otherwise go without higher education.
Source: Palin-Parnell campaign booklet: New Energy for Alaska , Nov 3, 2006

Forward-fund K-12 schools to allow better planning

I support adequate and full funding for education, as well as for pupil transportation and municipal school debt reimbursements. There must be recognition for increases in costs for energy, utilities, insurance, and salaries. We cannot go back to the day of simply ignoring inflation. A centerpiece of my fiscal plan is to forward fund K-12. School districts will be able to do a better job of planning their budgets for upcoming years if they know in advance the level of funding they can expect from Juneau.
Source: Palin-Parnell campaign booklet: New Energy for Alaska , Nov 3, 2006

Supports charter schools, home schools, & other alternatives

My administration will support existing programs that already offer alternative school options available throughout the state, including charter schools, rural boarding schools, home school options, correspondence schools, and vocational/technical, and magnet schools. There are many successes out there that we can look to as models. My administration will support and expand existing programs that successfully offer new approaches to ensure an appropriate education for every child in Alaska.
Source: Palin-Parnell campaign booklet: New Energy for Alaska , Nov 3, 2006

Target early education programs to at-risk groups

The State should target early education programs to specific at-risk groups that truly need them. These groups will benefit from access to high-quality programs currently out of their reach. We must find a way for these children to obtain a safe and positive environment in their early years. Today, social & economic pressures sometimes encourage both parents to return to work outside the home. My administration will publish useful educational material for parents about children in their early years.
Source: Palin-Parnell campaign booklet: New Energy for Alaska , Nov 3, 2006

Alignment between parents, teachers, schools, & business

Alignment is the unity of purpose which brings parents, children, teachers, public administration and businesses together towards a common goal of quality education. Alignment towards the common goal is built upon the values of respect for one another, our unique cultures and traditions, and our individual personal values. Here is how Alignment fits together:
Source: Palin-Parnell campaign booklet: New Energy for Alaska , Nov 3, 2006

Faith-based materials ok in homeschooling

Ideally, the purpose of administration is to ensure that our schools offer such choices to parents, students and teachers. Choice in public education is a relatively new idea, but is already widely implemented. We see from our experience that innovation such as charter schools, homeschools, correspondence, Montessorri, and various other alternative schools have a broad appeal to parents, students, teachers and administrators. There is still room to grow our choices to serve more families.

I support and respect the rights of independent homeschoolers and those who partner with local and state-wide school districts. There must be equity in treatment of all homeschoolers in all programs across the state. The use of privately-purchased, faith-based materials should not be a reason for withholding funding.

Source: Palin-Parnell campaign booklet: New Energy for Alaska , Nov 3, 2006

ABC method: back to basics, plus patriotism & ethics

I believe we need to respect families and provide greater access to curricula and programs that teach ethics and character. The ABC method is a local program that depends strongly on these principles. ABC students have nightly homework, back to basics curriculum, patriotism, ethics and citizenship training. Programs such as ABC have core principles of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship.
Source: Palin-Parnell campaign booklet: New Energy for Alaska , Nov 3, 2006

Supports parental choice for what is best for their children

Source: Palin-Parnell campaign booklet: New Energy for Alaska , Nov 3, 2006

Don’t push school boards on creationism but allow discussion

The volatile issue of teaching creation science in public schools popped up in the Alaska governor’s race this week when Republican Sarah Palin said she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the state’s public classrooms. Palin was answering a question from the moderator when she said, “Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.”

In an interview, Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms: “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.” She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum. “I won’t have religion as a litmus test, or anybody’s personal opinion on evolution or creationism,” Palin said.

Source: Alaska 2006 Governor Debate: Anchorage Daily News follow-up , Oct 27, 2006

I believe we have a creator; and many theories of evolution

Palin said she thought there was value in discussing alternatives. “It’s OK to let kids know that there are theories out there,” she said in an interview following the debate. “They gain information just by being in a discussion.”

That was how she was brought up, she said. Her father was a public school science teacher. “My dad did talk a lot about his theories of evolution,” she said. “He would show us fossils and say, ‘How old do you think these are?’ ”

Asked for her personal views on evolution, Palin said, “I believe we have a creator.” She would not say whether her belief also allowed her to accept the theory of evolution as fact. “I’m not going to pretend I know how all this came to be,” she said.

Knowles was asked Thursday if he believed in a creator and, if so, how he reconciled that with evolution. A campaign spokeswoman responded, “Tony wants to stick by what he said last night -- creationism has no place in public school classrooms as an ‘alternative’ to evolution.”

Source: Alaska 2006 Governor Debate: Anchorage Daily News follow-up , Oct 27, 2006

Support charters & home schools; not private school vouchers

Q: Would you support amending the state constitution to allow private school vouchers?

A: My priorities are to support options for education as allowable within the current funding formula--including home schools, charter schools and vocational training. This doesn’t require amending the constitution.

Source: Anchorage Daily News: 2006 gubernatorial candidate profile , Oct 22, 2006

Let parents opt out of schoolbooks they find offensive

Q: Will you support the right of parents to opt out their children from curricula, books, classes, or surveys, which parents consider privacy-invading or offensive to their religion or conscience?

A: Yes. Parents should have the ultimate control over what their children are taught.

Source: Eagle Forum 2006 Gubernatorial Candidate Questionnaire , Jul 31, 2006

Parents know best, about school spending & school age

Q: Do you support parental choice in the spending of state educational dollars?

A: Within Alaska law, I support parents deciding what is the best education venue for their child.

Q: Will you support efforts to raise or lower the mandatory age of education? Why or why not?

A: No, again, parents know better than government what is best for their children.

Source: Eagle Forum 2006 Gubernatorial Candidate Questionnaire , Jul 31, 2006

Pledge of Allegiance with ‘Under God’ is good enough

Q: Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance?

A: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.

Source: Eagle Forum 2006 Gubernatorial Candidate Questionnaire , Jul 31, 2006

Other governors on Education: Sarah Palin on other issues:
AK Gubernatorial:
Sean Parnell
AK Senatorial:
Lisa Murkowski
Mark Begich

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Page last updated: Nov 28, 2011