John McCain on Education

Unrestricted block grants--let states decide spending

McCain would be reluctant to tie federal dollars to a school’s academic standing. But he seems intent on pleasing conservatives by extracting the federal government from most school-level spending decisions. McCain has said he would present most federal education money to states in unrestricted block grants -- he would include an additional $500 million earmarked broadly for teachers’ merit pay -- and leave it to the states and districts to spend as they see fit.
Source: New York Times Feb 29, 2000

Against nationally imposed standards & funding strings

Q: Should federal money be linked to how well students perform on national or statewide tests? A: I do not favor nationally imposed standards or federal funding strings. State and local education agencies should be responsible for developing & enforcing high academic standards. I don’t believe we should penalize students by taking away limited education dollars according to federal dictates. Such strings would invariably require states to spend even more money on federally imposed bureaucratic requirements-money that would be better spent in the classroom. I propose sending education funding directly to classrooms rather than having it siphoned off by federal and state bureaucracies. If this funding flows to classrooms that continue to fail, the state should have the authority to allow students to use that funding directly for programs that best meet their academic needs. Empowering parents and students through educational choice and competition is the surest path to academic excellence.
Source: Associated Press Feb 23, 2000

Teach virtues in all schools

I walked into a charter school classroom in Phoenix. On the desk was a children’s book of virtues. The teacher was teaching the virtue of the month, which happened to be the importance of telling the truth. We need to inject that in all of our charter schools and in schools all over America. I would provide the much needed tax breaks that are necessary to encourage them. I would certainly make them part of any voucher program, a test voucher program which I would not take out of education funds.
Source: Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate Dec 7, 1999

Enlist retirees for tutoring

McCain wants to create a pool of military veterans, retirees and others who would tutor students in math, science and English. “You really need to have a lot more people helping kids get their education,” McCain said. Tutors can help reinforce the message that education is important and give students the support they need to succeed, McCain said. If tutors aren’t available in some neighborhoods, the Internet may be able to link them with students, he said.
Source: Associated Press Nov 22, 1999

Good teachers should earn more than bad lawyers

Q: How can we attract the best and the brightest teachers, given the current salaries? A: I don’t see why a good teacher should be paid less money than a bad senator. It’s important that we have merit pay for teachers, that we have teacher testing, that we do everything we can to motivate young men and women to enter this profession. There’s a whole generation that’s retiring. It is unconscionable that the average salary of a lawyer is $79,000 a year and the average salary of a teacher is $39,000 a year
Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 29, 1999

Decisions on teaching evolution should be made locally

On teaching evolution in schools, McCain says the decision should be made at the local level.
Source: Bruce Morton, CNN Aug 27, 1999

Help unqualified teachers find other lines of work

McCain feels that each and every child in every classroom deserves a teacher who is qualified and enthusiastic about teaching. “Some people just aren’t meant to be teachers, and we should help them find another line of work. Because if teachers can’t teach, our kids can’t learn.”
Source: McCain for President web Site Jul 2, 1999

Supports tax-free savings accounts for education expenses

McCain co-sponsored the Education A-Plus bill in 1997 (which Clinton vetoed) and again in 1999, to allow parents to open tax-free savings accounts for their children’s educational expenses - including tutoring, computers, and tuition.
Source: McCain for President web Site Jul 2, 1999

Supports “Reading Excellence”; and rewarding good schools

Source: McCain for President web Site Jul 2, 1999

Supports at-risk programs; homeless ed.; anti-drop-out ed.

Source: McCain for President web Site Jul 2, 1999

Internet access, with filters, at every school & library

McCain seeks high-speed Internet access for every school, but suggested requiring filtering software for all public school and library computers as a way to keep children from potentially harmful Internet sites.
Source: Associated Press Jun 14, 1999

Merit pay & competency testing for teachers

Also promoted merit-based pay for teachers, calling higher teacher salaries an “urgent necessity.” But he added that teachers should be tested for competence periodically and fired if they don’t meet certain standards.
Source: Associated Press Jun 14, 1999

Ed-ACT Bill: college plans; language proficiency

Source: “Position Papers” 5/24/99 May 24, 1999

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 YES on requiring schools to allow voluntary prayer.

Cut off federal funds to school districts that deny students their right to constitutionally protected voluntary prayer.
Bill S.1513 ; vote number 1994-236 on Jul 27, 1994

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