Kerry on Education

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Here are excerpted comments on education that Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts has made in speeches in recent years.

Speech at Northeastern University, Boston, June 1998:

"We have vast bureaucracies in many school boards, bureaucracies that seem to remove even the semblance of accountability from the system. ...

"We have clogged, bureaucratic systems where bargaining agreements have become embedded into the system, and places where a principal can only hire a teacher from another district if a majority of teachers in that school vote to approve; systems where principals are forced to hire the most senior teacher in the system...

"Let's make every public school in this country essentially a charter school within the public school system. Let's give every school the chance to quickly and easily put in place the best of what works ... with decentralized control, site-based management, parental engagement, and high levels of volunteerism. ...

"We've built an education school monopoly that bars or limits liberal arts students from teaching in public education."

Address on U.S. Senate floor, December 2001:

"I am convinced that a strong accountability system is the linchpin of [the No Child Left Behind Act]. For the first time, the federal government will put into place an accountability system that will hold states, schools, and districts accountable for steadily improving the learning of their children and closing the achievement gap between rich and poor and between minorities and nonminorities. ...

"Another key component of this bill is the expansion of public school choice and charter schools. ... I believe that choice and competition within the public school system are vital ingredients to increasing accountability and improving our schools. ...

"The No Child Left Behind Act contains significant, meaningful reforms, but these reforms cannot succeed without sufficient resources."

Campaign speech, Council Bluffs, Iowa, November 2003:

"I will hold George Bush accountable for making a mockery of the words 'Leave No Child Behind.' And my National Education Trust Fund will guarantee our schools get the funding they need and the funding they deserve. And then I will go further with important changes to this law to make sure students can reach high standards. That means judging schools on more than just test scores. It means rewarding, not punishing, the states that make progress and implement high standards. ...

"Everything we know tells us that good teachers make all the difference. But our teachers are drowning in praise from politicians while they're parched for the support they need."

"I have never supported vouchers. I will never support them. And if it ever comes to my desk, I'll veto vouchers or voucher-like programs the day that bill arrives."

SOURCE: Kerry campaign and Senate Office; Congressional Record.

Vol. 23, Issue 23, Page 42

Published in Print: February 18, 2004, as Kerry on Education
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