Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

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. Read more from this blog.

Teaching Profession

McCain and Obama Advisers on Spec Ed, NCLB, and Funding

By Michele McNeil — July 23, 2008 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Sen. John McCain will be filling in the blanks in his education plan in a “little bit” with proposals on prekindergarten, college access and affordability, and special education, top education adviser Lisa Graham Keegan told the National Conference of State Legislators today in New Orleans.

While my colleague was covering an Obama event, I’m was here in the Big Easy listening to a forum on the education ideas of the presidential candidates, starring Keegan and Linda Darling-Hammond (on behalf of Obama).

There was very little that hasn’t been said before, either by the candidates themselves, or their advisers. But I’ll hit on the highlights:

* Keegan wouldn’t address questions about early education or college, saying McCain was getting ready to talk in more details about his plans for such programs.

* I heard more than I have ever heard before about special education from the two advisers. Keegan, who noted that McCain’s wife, Cindy, was a special education teacher, said the Arizona senator was going to address the issues of the federal special education law (IDEA) and its funding in upcoming remarks. She said he’s very supportive of it, but also realizes that if schools did a better job of teaching reading, then fewer students would be referred to special education, thus saving those dollars for those students who really need it. She reiterated McCain’s support for research into autism-spectrum disorders. Darling-Hammond said Obama wants to quadruple the number of Head Start slots to help address this issue, and fully fund IDEA.

*To the question of what, exactly, Obama means when he dabbles in supporting merit-pay programs—a touchy subject for Democrats—Darling-Hammond was evasive about whether he would use test scores. She was evasive until Keegan stepped in and asked her point-blank if he opposes using any test score whatsoever. Darling-Hammond hemmed and hawed, but ended up saying he would support using test scores as part of multiple measures to gauge teacher performance.

*Legislators got a chance to ask several questions, and were most curious about their stances on additional funding for NCLB and for special education. Obama is all for spending more money on NCLB and special education (Darling-Hammond noted that his $18 billion education price tag is less than the cost of one month in Iraq). But Keegan said money is not the answer—that the federal government has increased its spending nearly 50 percent over pre-NCLB levels, yet students, especially poor and minority, are still failing in alarming numbers.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


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.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
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.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

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

Teaching Profession Opinion ‘A Culture of Care’: How Schools Can Alleviate Educator Stress This Year
It takes more than deep breathing to alleviate the stress teachers feel. Here's how to get to the root cause.
Sean Slade & Alyssa Gallagher
6 min read
shutterstock 740616958 resized
Teaching Profession Reported Essay Students Aren’t the Only Ones Grieving
Faced with so many losses stemming from the pandemic, what can be done to help teachers manage their own grief?
4 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Teaching Profession We Feel Your Grief: Remembering the 1,000 Plus Educators Who've Died of COVID-19
The heartbreaking tally of lives lost to the coronavirus continues to rise and take a steep toll on school communities.
3 min read
090321 1000 Educators Lost BS
Education Week
Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor Educators Have a Responsibility to Support the Common Good
A science teacher responds to another science teacher's hesitation to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
1 min read