Federal Opinion

Richardson “Wins” Nonexistent Education Portion Of Dem Debate

By Alexander Russo — June 05, 2007 4 min read
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It’ll take another day or two for FactCheck to verify their claims, but on Sunday night the Dem candidates (transcript here) had little to say by way of education compared to health, foreign policy, etc. Into this vacuum stepped, NM Gov Bill Richardson, who claimed to have “got rid of junk food in schools” and “brought mandatory phys ed in.” Later on, he said he would “upgrade our schools” with universal preschool as his top priority and bring in a “minimum wage for our teachers” at $40,000. “I did that in New Mexico,” he said. I have no idea if any of this is true, but I do know that having second- and third-tier candidates (Richardson, Dodd) leading the way on education ideas is not the sign that things are going well. Goddamn health care reform. Meanwhile, Ed In ’08 issued the following press release calling on the citizens of NH to press the education issue when the candidates show up.From Ed In ‘08:


Manchester N.H. - Strong American Schools’ “Ed in 08" Campaign Chairman
Roy Romer and Executive Director Marc Lampkin issued the following
statement, urging all voters in New Hampshire and across the country to
ask candidates why they are not talking about improving America’s

“As the candidates gather in New Hampshire this week for the
presidential debates, I hope they will all demonstrate true leadership
and raise the most important issue: the quality of our children’s
education,” said Romer. “Too many of our children are leaving our
schools not prepared for college, work and life. And, tragically, more
than one million drop out every year. In New Hampshire, one in five
students drops out of high school and one in three college freshmen
fails to earn a degree. We urge the citizens of New Hampshire and from
across the country to ask the candidates how they will work to stem this
tide of lost opportunity and wasted potential.”

“The politicians and the candidates want to spend billions of dollars on
old and new programs which do not provide the solutions we need to fix
the education crisis,” said Lampkin. “We need more than new spending
and new programs. We need dynamic leadership and a call to action. So,
we urge every voter to become an education voter and ask the candidates
if their plans and programs will ensure that our children are ready for
college, work and life.”

Just consider:

* Several candidates have proposed plans to make college more
affordable, yet a recent study from the Cal State system showed that 45%
of entering freshmen were not prepared for college English and needed to
take remedial courses. It doesn’t matter if you can pay for college if
you haven’t been prepared for college level academics.

* Other candidates want to end poverty and economic disparity, yet
30 percent of students fail to graduate from high school and those who
do graduate often lack the skills to get decent-paying jobs. You can’t
escape poverty unless your education prepares you for a job.

* Candidates are talking about improving America’s economic
competitiveness, yet none have said how they will address the fact that
our nation’s high school graduation rate has slipped behind 18 other
countries and our share of the world’s college graduates has shrunk by
half. The U.S. can’t lead the world in innovation and entrepreneurship
if we’re in the middle of the pack internationally in high school

* The candidates talk about getting tough on crime and illegal
immigration, but they are silent on the astounding national drop-out
problem in which 65 percent of convicts are high school dropouts and a
lack of education is one of the strongest predictors of criminal

* The candidates talk about their support for public school
education but thus far they have remained silent in the face of the fact
that 70 percent of public school eighth graders are not proficient in
math and most will never catch up.

Candidates need to offer bold ideas for addressing America’s education
crisis. How will they raise academic standards so every student learns
basic skills in math and reading? How will they ensure that all
students get a great teacher who can help them reach their highest
potential? How will they provide enough time and support for students
to learn what they need to succeed in college, jobs, and life?

The debates in New Hampshire offer a perfect opportunity to begin this
crucial dialogue.

The “ED in 08" campaign is an unprecedented up to $60 million
nonpartisan public awareness and action campaign supported by The Eli
and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The campaign is designed to raise education to one of the country’s top
domestic priorities and to challenge the 2008 presidential candidates to
begin a dialogue about how they will improve American schools.

To join the “ED in ‘08" campaign, and for more information, log onto:

EDITOR’S NOTE: To interview Roy Romer or Marc Lampkin today in
Manchester, N.H., in advance of tonight’s debate, please contact Shannon
Murphy at 310 849 4687 or 202 870 1093.

Strong American Schools, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors,
is a nonpartisan campaign supported by The Eli and Edythe Broad
Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation promoting sound
education policies for all Americans. SAS does not support or oppose
any candidate for public office and does not take positions on

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The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.