If you’ve been checking John McCain’s website often, you may have noticed that an education section did not appear until recently. (Does this mean that education is not on the top of this candidate’s list of priorities?) A press release on McCain’s website, dated July 16, 2008, lays out his general views on education. The following are some of McCain’s main educational focuses:
- School choice: McCain’s main concern about education involves school choice (i.e., vouchers—though that word does not appear on the site). He firmly believes that parents should be able to send their children to whatever school they choose. If schools are failing, students shouldn’t be forced to attend those schools.
- No Child Left Behind: McCain believes that we should learn a lesson from No Child Left Behind, and improve and build upon the plan.
- Online education: McCain is a strong supporter of “virtual learning.” He aims to put $500 million (of current funds) towards building “virtual schools,” by offering $250 million as grants for states to provide more online education opportunities to students, and $250 million in scholarships for students to take online courses or tutoring.
- Federal funding: McCain addresses Title II funding (presumably from either the Higher Education Act or NCLB) that would be used to recruit high-quality teachers to underperforming schools, and to be put directly at school-level so principals can obtain the resources their schools need.
- Early education: The most recent section added to McCain’s website (September 2008) offers explanations about the importance of making sure every child enters school “ready to learn.” McCain wants to improve already-existing early childhood programs by creating “Head Start Centers of Excellence,” and ensuring that all children have access to these programs.
- Higher education: Another press release on McCain’s website—this one dated August 14, 2008—states his concerns for higher education. His main idea involves simplifying tax benefits, federal financial aid, and lending programs so that more eligible families and students will understand and use them. He will also support university research by eliminating earmarks.
[Heard a lot of talk about earmarks lately? Earmarks, as defined by the Congressional Research Service, are “Provisions associated with legislation (appropriations or general legislation) that specify certain congressional spending priorities or in revenue bills that apply to a very limited number of individuals or entities. Earmarks may appear in either the legislative text or report language (committee reports accompanying reported bills and joint explanatory statement accompanying a conference report).”]
Overall, McCain’s website appears to offer more words and beliefs about education than actual plans and solutions, but please check out the education section of his website and judge for yourself.