Federal

Edwards Pushes Better Education for Poor

By The Associated Press — July 18, 2007 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Tuesday called for measures to strengthen education for poor children and make schools more economically diverse in order to fight poverty.

“We don’t just have racial segregation in our schools, we have huge economic segregation,” Edwards said while on the Pittsburgh leg of an eight-state tour to highlight poverty issues. “We have two public school systems in America ... one for those who live in wealthy suburban areas and then one for everybody else.”

Speaking to about 250 people in Pittsburgh’s impoverished Hill district, Edwards criticized last month’s Supreme Court decision rejecting school diversity plans in Seattle and Louisville, Ky. (“Use of Race Uncertain for Schools,” July 12, 2007.) He said the ruling turned “on its head” the landmark 1954 desegregation decision stemming from the Brown v. Board of Education case.

The former North Carolina senator and 2004 vice presidential candidate proposed giving bonuses to schools in affluent areas that enroll low-income students, creating magnet schools in inner cities and providing bonus pay for teachers willing to teach in inner cities. He also pitched the idea of “second-chance schools” for those who dropped out of high school.

“We shouldn’t give up on these children,” he said.

Earlier Tuesday, Edwards walked through the struggling Mount Pleasant neighborhood in Cleveland, the nation’s poorest big city, while pushing for a national law to crackdown on predatory lending. With sleeves rolled up and no tie, he waved to residents and called out, “How are you all doing?”

Predatory lenders who offer higher-priced loans to people with tarnished credit or low incomes “just move to another place where they are not regulated,” Edwards said. He also proposed a national fund to assist working people at risk of losing their homes.

Edwards chatted on a porch with homeowner Glenn Curry, 57, who said his home was close to foreclosure because of his wife’s medical bills, a cut in his hours as a school bus driver and a refinancing that he described as predatory.

The visit to Cleveland marked the unveiling of the campaign’s plan to promote economically diverse schools. One of its proposals would create 1 million housing vouchers over five years to help low-income families move to better neighborhoods.

In a radio interview, Edwards said he believed President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had engaged in “illegal behavior,” but he sidestepped a question about whether Bush should be impeached.

“There are multiple examples; just one is the fact that they have illegally spied on the American people in blatant disregard for the law,” he told AirAmerica radio when asked if there were grounds for impeachment.

He added that while he understood why activists might want to see Bush impeached, “I would rather us focus our attention on ending the war, universal health care and winning the next election.”

Edwards, whose travels began Sunday in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, said the tour had shown him that there were different aspects of poverty across the country.

“It has a lot of different faces,” he said, including poor cities, small towns and rural areas.

“It’s not a Cleveland problem or a New Orleans problem, it’s an American problem,” Edwards said.

Chris Taylor, regional press secretary for the Republican National Committee, said the poverty tour highlights Edwards’ hypocrisy.

“It’s difficult to relate to the homeless when you reside in a 28,000-square-foot mansion,” Taylor said. “This is a guy who has taken fees for speaking about the poor in the past.”

Related Tags:

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Teachers Shouldn't Have to Drive Ubers on the Side, Education Secretary Says
In a speech on priorities for the year, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said teachers should be paid competitive salaries.
5 min read
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivers a speech during the “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” event in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24, 2023.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivers a speech during the “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” event in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24, 2023.
Sam Mallon/Education Week
Federal A Chaotic Start to a New Congress: What Educators Need to Know
A new slate of lawmakers will have the chance to influence federal education policy in the 118th Congress.
4 min read
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks on the House floor after the first vote for House Speaker when he did not receive enough votes to be elected during opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan 3, 2023, in Washington.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 3 following the first round of voting for House Speaker. McCarthy fell short of enough votes to be elected speaker in three rounds of voting on opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Federal Historic Changes to Title IX and School Safety Funding: How 2022 Shaped K-12 Policy
Federal lawmakers sought to make Title IX more inclusive, respond to school shootings, and crack down on corrupt charter schools.
6 min read
Revelers march down Fifth Avenue during the annual NYC Pride March, Sunday, June 26, 2022, in New York.
Revelers march down Fifth Avenue during New York City's annual Pride March in June. Proposed changes to Title IX would explicitly protect students from discrimination based on their gender identity or sexuality.
Mary Altaffer/AP
Federal What Education Issues Did Voters Care About Most? Hint: It Was Not Critical Race Theory
An NEA poll shows voters' education priorities in the midterm elections.
5 min read
People fill out ballots to vote at Benjamin Banneker Middle School during Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Silver Spring, Md.
People fill out ballots to vote at Benjamin Banneker Middle School on Nov. 8 in Silver Spring, Md.
Jose Luis Magana/AP