Michael Johnston, one of Sen. Barack Obama’s many education advisers, met with several journalists today to discuss the Illinois senator’s agenda for schools.
Johnston summed up the Democratic presidential candidate’s platform in one word: “comprehensive.”
It would have $10 billion for new pre-K initiatives and add $8 billion for K-12 programs, particularly for recruiting, retaining, and rewarding teachers. It also would improve college affordability and access.
As for the No Child Left Behind Act, Johnston repeated what Obama has said he likes and dislikes about the law. High standards and accountability are good. The level of funding and the quality of assessments aren’t. Johnston added that Obama believes a federal accountability system could measure students’ reading and math skills while not narrowing the curriculum to those areas.
“It’s a false choice,” the Denver-area principal said. “There’s a way to do both.”
When asked to comment on the education agenda that Sen. John McCain announced last week, Johnston said it isn’t, well, comprehensive.
McCain had plenty to say about expanding choice and tutoring, Johnston said, but nothing about pre-K, college financial aid, or how to fix NCLB. “There wasn’t anything that addressed the 90 percent of students that are in public schools,” Johnston said.