Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Education Debate--the transcript

Last night the candidates had stand-ins at Teachers College, Columbia University to debate their positions on education. This is a rough draft.

"Your opening question is how would Barack Obama differ from John McCain as an education president?"

The Obama representative LINDA DARLING-HAMMOND after saying we need more investment in early childhood education and healthcare and teachers’ salaries says: “So we have fallen to 35th in the world in Math, to 15th in terms of college access. And we are at a graduation rate that has been stagnant for 40 years, and others are pulling ahead.”

Call me crazy, but I think we’re talking content here, not healthcare. Drill, drill, drill is probably what's working in those other countries. And concerned parents. The best example is Cleveland and Columbus that have lower graduation rates than the district of the family in Appalachia (DeRolph v. State of Ohio) that sued the state for more per-pupil money (and won) a few years back. Now they have more computers and nicer buildings, but it didn't change the outcomes--which were already better than the big city schools because of parent involvement, not healthcare, not buildings. Now the increased property taxes they have to pay to keep up the schools is hurting their communities.

The McCain representative LISA GRAHAM KEEGAN points out McCain's support for charter schools in a bipartisan effort that included Al Sharpton and Newt Gingrich and that Obama opted out of the effort, although he himself had been sent to private schools by his single mother, something Democrats deny other people‘s children.

I think the strongest case for charter or scholarship schools is that liberals, even in good districts like Springfield, VA (DC suburb) choose private schools for their kids. These schools recruit a very select, acceptable “diversity” element to look good. Keeps out the riff raff their kids might face in public school. What stops them is they are joined at the hip with teachers' unions.

Here’s the transcript, and I think the moderator was much too talky, so maybe it’s good that I didn’t get the audio (I think you can register to hear it).

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