John Edwards is unveiling his education platform today in DesMoines, Iowa. He promises to build a universal preK program, to improve the quality of teachers, and to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act.
To replace what his campaign calls NCLB’s “unproven cookie-cutter solutions,” the former U.S. senator from North Carolina would model attempts to fix failing schools on a current program in his home state. He would create a School Success Fund that would assign experienced educators to help distressed schools improve. He also would try to increase the pool of successful schools, either by expanding existing ones or building new ones.
For teachers, Edwards would offer an extra $15,000 in salary to those in successful schools serving high-poverty students. He also would start the National Teacher University to prepare 1,000 new teachers every year. He says the new university would be comparable to the West Point Military Academy.
Edwards also would start the “Great Promise” program, which would offer preschool to 4-year-olds. The program would start in areas with schools that have low-student achievement and expand to be available nationwide. It would have an academic focus and would charge parents a fee based on a sliding scale. In addition to the preschool, Edwards would start a program to improve child care for younger children and another to improve all children’s health.