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ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states.

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Joe Biden: Cool to Merit Pay, Warm to Pre-K

By Michele McNeil — August 24, 2008 1 min read

During his short-lived campaign for president, Democrat Joe Biden said education would be his top domestic priority.

But it’s clear that Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois didn’t pick Biden as his vice-presidential pick because of domestic issues, but because of his foreign relations credentials.

So as David Hoff and I begin our coverage of the convention here in Denver, we’re not expecting Biden’s speech from the podium of the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night to be a showstopper on education reform.

However, it’s worth remembering what Biden said on education issues while he campaigned for the No. 1 job.

On the issue of merit pay for teachers--something Obama is tentatively embracing--Biden won’t cause the teachers’ unions too much angst because in this debate during the primaries, he said teachers should be rewarded for their own performance outside of the classroom, such as if they obtain advanced degrees. (His wife, Jill, by the way, is in the field of teaching and last I checked was a community college instructor.) He said, according to the transcript:

An excellent teacher should be judged by whether or not that teacher, outside of the classroom, improves themselves and their teaching skills. My wife got two master's degrees and a doctorate degree. That's merit pay.

His education plan was a $30 billion, five-year plan that focused on giving kids 16 years of quality schooling, from two years of prekindergarten to two years of affordable college.

By Michele McNeil

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