Making America's Schools Work
by Ken Camp
Yesterday at Manchester West High School (NH), Governor Bill Richardson unveiled his plan for making America's schools work. Governor Richardson was introduced by former Manchester Mayor Robert Baines, who has endorsed him, and was principal of West for 20 years. In the speech, Governor Richardson spoke of bold reform of our education system, and continued his call for scrapping No Child Left Behind.
Education is the spark that lights minds. As we ignite schools across the country, we can kindle a great fire of learning that will light the way to the future.
We must begin with educating our young people, but we cannot stop there. Learning should not end at eighteen. And every American must have a part in the basic promise of our nation -- that we can make every tomorrow better than today.
That starts with building the best public school system in the world. Compromises will not do. We must skip the caution. Skip the half measures. What we need is bold change.
My Democratic opponents have been cautious in confronting George Bush on this issue. Just as they trusted George Bush on the Iraq war and the Patriot Act, they trusted him on No Child Left Behind. The result has been a travesty for our children.
Some say fix it, others say tweak it. Senator Hillary Clinton says reform it.
I also have two words for No Child Left Behind: Scrap It.
As a Governor I have seen first-hand the impact of this failed policy on our children. And although Senator Clinton and some of my other opponents voted for it, they should admit their error, and join my call for real change.
Follow me over the fold for the specifics of Governor Richardson's education plan.
Under President Bill Richardson a badly needed $60 billion investment will be made in education. The highlights of the plan include the following:
* Full-day pre-school for every 4 year old, including full funding for Head Start.
* Scrap No Child Left Behind, specifically removing the punitive measures.
* Establish a minimum wage for teachers starting at $40,000 per year.
* Hire 100,000 additional math and science teachers.
* Create 250 Math, Science and Innovation Academies.
* Oppose private school vouchers, and increase public school choice by supporting charter and magnet schools.
* Invest up to $500 million in arts & music education programs.
* Invest $1 billion a year into states' dropout prevention programs.
* Get junk food out of schools. [Richardson has done this in New Mexico.]
Go here to read the entire Richardson education plan, or here for the executive summary.