Howard Dean on Education

Former VT Governor; Former Democratic Candidate for President

Vouchers undermine public education

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: Vouchers undermine public education, a cornerstone of our democracy. I oppose all public funding of private school tuition, including demonstration programs like the one President Bush is foisting on Washington, DC, and the one Governor Jeb Bush has instituted in Florida, since they siphon badly needed resources from our public schools.

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

Create high standard AND help schools meet them

Q: Do you support more education funding under Bush's plan?

A: No Child Left Behind is bad policy. TX & OH have already reduced educational standards in order to save money. This bill is hurting American education, not helping it. We need accountabilit in education and high standards and this bill is doing the opposite. I would scrap the majority of No Child Left Behind, fully fund special education and create a very high standards test with technical assistance to help schools meet the goals.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 6, 2003

Dean's other landmark VT bill: education finance

Dean signed his name to two landmark bills during his tenure as governor. One of them refashioned the state's system of education finance, eliminating disparities between revenues available from town to town. The other established civil unions. Dean did not lead the way for either bill; the legislature passed the bills in response to rulings by the Vermont Supreme Court. But he supported both bills, and he did not back away from the controversies they created
Source: Citizen's Guide to the Man Who Would be President, p. 2 Oct 1, 2003

No diversion of taxpayer funds to private schools

It is outrageous that [the Republican House leadership] would schedule a vote [about DC's] public school system knowing full well that the Congressional Black Caucus were scheduled to be out of town for a presidential debate. Beyond my outrage at their tactics, I am deeply opposed to the result of this vote which would impose a voucher system on a local school district. I strongly oppose voucher programs which divert taxpayer money to private schools and weaken our public school system.
Source: Press release on DC voucher vote Sep 10, 2003

Bush's "No Child Left Behind" is an unfunded mandate

Don't vote for unfunded mandates like No Child Left Behind, which make is impossible to explain to the American people that those kind of unfunded mandates are wrong. They drive up your property taxes. What we need is full funding of mandates like special education. So stop strangling our cities and towns.
Source: AFSCME union debate in Iowa May 17, 2003

Don't let Congress dictate definitions of school prayer

The President's education bill mandates that schools certify that they allow "Constitutionally" defined school prayer, and that they send the name and address of every rising senior to colleges and to the military. THESE MATTERS OUGHT TO BE LEFT UP TO THE LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS, NOT DICTATED BY THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS.
Source: Campaign web site, DeanForAmerica.com, "On the Issues" Nov 30, 2002

GOP education bill imposes an unfunded mandate on states

The President's education bill is the second largest unfunded mandate (after special education) in the history of federal education legislation. It is the largest reduction of local school board decision making power in history.

This new federal law will result in the identification-or mis-identification-of between 30% and 65% of all community schools (depending on your state) as failing. The enormous cost of coming into federal compliance will fall on local property taxpayers. In Vermont, we may forego federal education funds altogether because in the long run this law threatens to make our schools worse rather than better!

Vermont, like many other states, already has a strong testing and accountability program. By the President's own measure, Vermont's students collective rank sixth in the country. Now our system is at risk because of a new federally-dictated definition of quality.

Source: Campaign web site, DeanForAmerica.com, "On the Issues" Nov 30, 2002

Supported Act 60's controversial statewide education fund

In the 1997 decision Brigham v. State of Vermont, the court declared that the system of funding the state's public schools through property taxes produced unconstitutional inequities. An ugly class war erupted between wealthy communities and poorer ones.

Governor Dean left the problem to the Legislature, which produced Act 60 - the Equal Educational Opportunity Act - which assessed a statewide property tax of $1.10 per $100 of assessed value, which was then placed into an education fund, which the state then distributed in block grants. This guaranteed a threshold amount to be spent per student regardless of where the student lived. If a town wanted to spend more than the threshold, the money went into a pool shared by the richer towns with the poorer towns. The solution angered everyone a little, but Dean stood by Act 60 staunchly during his 1998 reelection campaign.

Source: Charles P. Pierce, Boston Globe Nov 24, 2002

No-Child-Left-Behind is Every-School-Board-Left-Behind

Strongly supported by education conservatives, Bush's No Child Left Behind Act won bipartisan approval in 2001. Now that the law is being phased in, educators are arguing that they cannot meet its ambitious goals without adequate federal funding. The legislation permitted spending up to $26.4 billion this year to help the nation's 16,000 school districts comply. But in the face of growing deficits, Congress appropriated $22 billion.

Some Democrats are joining in the push for more federal funding to carry out the law's requirements. Gov. Howard Dean calls the education measure the "every school board left behind" act. "It's not going to accomplish anything except raising local property taxes," he says. Dean as well as some school officials refer to the gap in federal support as an "unfunded mandate" - buzzwords that Republicans used for decades when Democrats ruled Capitol Hill and passed laws without adequately compensating states for having to carry them out.

Source: Baltimore Sun Nov 17, 2002

Howard Dean on School Choice

Under no circumstances abandon the public schools

We must not forget that the single most important factor in how a child learns has less to do with the quality of the building, the computers or even the teachers. The most important predictor is the attitude in that child's home. We must involve parents again; we must insist that they participate in their children's education; and we must make schools and school boards responsive to parents. But we must under no circumstances abandon the public schools, as the Bush Administration seems bent on doing.
Source: Campaign web site, DeanForAmerica.com, "On the Issues" Nov 30, 2002

Apply VT's limited standards for failing schools, not GOP's

I am proud of the Vermont approach to education reform. First, we require and pay for high standard (but not standardized) testing, and publish the school-by-school results annually. Second, we use professional development to help non-performing teachers and schools do a better job. The state can take over a failing school, although I'm happy to say that has never been necessary. Finally, the state pays a substantial share of new school construction.

The federal government must recognize that an enormous number of our teachers are retiring in the coming years and provide incentives to inspire a new generation of great teachers. In addition, Washington needs to provide a cost share to help local communities fix their most rundown schools (not only improving education, but providing construction jobs).

Source: Campaign web site, DeanForAmerica.com, "On the Issues" Nov 30, 2002

Improve and invest in public schools.

Dean is a member of the Democratic Governors Association:

Principles of the Democratic Governors Association:


Democratic Governors are leading the way with highly-trained teachers, strong standards and accountability, increased funding to repair and modernize public school facilities, access to technology and computers, and more discipline and safety in the classrooms. Democratic Governors believe the most important aspect to insure a child’s education is to have the best possible teachers in the classroom. They believe that we must value teachers as professionals, encourage their development to be the best teachers they can be for our children and compensate them accordingly. Democratic Governors favor greater parental choice, but oppose measures that weaken public schools diverting taxpayer dollars to private schools with no accountability for results. Democratic Governors around the country are also forming innovative public-private partnerships to create programs to provide early childhood education, nutrition and health care services to ensure that our children have the best possible start in life.

Source: DGA website, www.DemocraticGovernors.org/ 01-DGA2 on Aug 15, 2001

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

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts