Benny's World

Saturday, September 22, 2007

John Edwards: It Takes More than Just a President

From the Harkin Steak Fry. I filled out one of those coins of ideas for change. I want Universal Health care, but all of the folks in the video express the other ideas of change that I want as well.

One of them was about education. As a matter of fact, JRE came out with an education plan yesterday.

Here's an excerpt:

Edwards' plan for education reform will address the failures of the current system through focusing on the following principles:

Preparing Every Child to Succeed: As president, Edwards will launch a national "Great Promise" partnership to give a quality early childhood education to every four-year-old in the country � starting with poor children in neighborhoods with struggling schools. To reach even younger children, Edwards will create a national "Smart Start" program that will improve child care and invest in child health.

An Excellent Teacher in Every Classroom: Teachers, not tests, are the single most important factor in successful schools. As president, Edwards will increase pay for teachers in successful high-poverty schools by up to $15,000 a year. He will also create a National Teacher University � a West Point for teachers � to recruit 1,000 top college students a year, train them to be excellent teachers, and encourage them to teach where they are needed the most. His plan also will give extra support to teachers in the first years of their careers, reduce classroom sizes, and train more excellent principals.

Making Every School an Outstanding School: No Child Left Behind used cheap standardized tests to measure our children's learning, failed to accurately identify struggling schools, and mandated unproven cookie-cutter solutions for our schools' problems. Edwards will totally overhaul it so it meets its goals of helping all children learn through accurately identifying and improving struggling schools. Based on North Carolina's successful education reforms, Edwards proposed a School Success Fund to allow teams of experienced educators to spend a year at struggling schools helping launch reforms. Edwards will also launch a "Great Schools" initiative to build or expand 1,000 successful schools.

For more specifics, go here.

The one specific I like is this one:
Support High School Service Programs

The energy and enthusiasm of high school students who want to make their community and their country a better place to live. One type of service program, service-learning, has been shown to have positive impacts on students' civic engagement, college enrollment, career development, and personal relationships. Nearly half of school-age children lack the activities and role models that are opportunities to make a difference through helping others. Edwards will create a Community Corps service programs for high school students. It will provide resources to high schools that choose to make community service a graduation requirement, helping them make service opportunities higher in quality and integrate them into the curriculum. [NYLC, 2006; America's Promise Alliance, undated]

Benny's idea: Or, another idea--have them work 10 hours a week for wages to show they can gain work skills and fiscal responsibility as they go to college or attend a trade school. This fits in with College for Everyone.

Let's Change America. Tomorrow begins today.

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