Believing in McCain

This is my final post. I’d like to thank Eduwonk for having me as a guest on behalf of Senator John McCain. I’ve truly enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of a “living” education conversation. There is nothing like a healthy dialogue to get people excited and talking about an important issue. 

I have been involved in education issues all my life, and I am a believer in education. I am the daughter and sister of educators (My Dad was the first Black Assistant Superintendent of the Little Rock, Arkansas School District, two of my sisters were public school teachers and my mother is a retired public school teacher). I have been a DC business owner, Financial Director of a nonprofit organization; and, for the last twelve years, I have happily lead DC Parents for School Choice, an organization that I founded. Our mission is to empower parents by providing them information regarding all kinds of educational opportunities for their children…. wherever they choose to enroll them- traditional public schools, public charter schools, scholarships to private schools, homeschool, virtual schools, etc.. I passionately believe in a quality education for all children and have worked hard to make that happen.

My passion for education has led to many opportunities and, most recently, the opportunity to be a part of Senator John McCain’s education team. I am a believer in Senator McCain because I am a believer in his education priorities for improving education. I know under his leadership, we will see children learn in quality schools with excellent teachers, now and into the future. Senator McCain is committed to

· Building the national corps of excellent teachers and empowered principals;

· Supporting state efforts for consistent, high academic standards and judge progress by student achievement gains;

· Supporting family demands for high quality early care and pre-school;

· Making tutoring a reality for students, not a penalty for schools;

· Paving the way for educational innovation and technology in the classroom to customize instruction and learning; and

· Ensuring high school students are prepared for college or career success.

I listened to Senator Obama last night. Everything he said about education sounded pretty good. He talked about a world-class education system. He talked about higher pay for teachers. He talked about higher standards and accountability. He said that every child should have the chance for a great education. And, finally, he always talks about change. This sounds great. But, when I have listened carefully to Senator Obama (or members of his team) explain what these things mean, I am disappointed. If he is unwilling to challenge the status quo; unwilling to provide students options when they are attending failing schools (while his own daughters attend elite private schools); unwilling to articulate what high standards and accountability mean; and unwilling to link higher salaries for teachers to improved student achievement, these ideas appear empty.

John McCain believes that every American student should have access to the education that will enable them to participate fully in service to their family, their country, and the noble purposes of a lifetime. And, he has not been afraid to articulate what this means. Furthermore, he believes that our public education system must be built around the unique hopes and talents of students and not around the tired rules and constraints of a system that fails far too many. He believes education is the key to our future…and, so do I.

– Guestblogger Virginia Walden Ford, Education Policy Adviser, McCain08

19 Replies to “Believing in McCain”

  1. John McCain also believes that the middle class are millionaires! Why on earth would you want a guy who graduated at the bottom of his class, crashed a few planes, and then claimed his tenure as a POW makes him ready to be president? The page is being turned, and McCain, maverick that he isn’t, will hopefully lose.

  2. Virginia, I am disappointed. I expected more from McCain’s people. You did not engage in dialogue but posted a series of press releases. You did not indicate at all that you even read any of the comments. It’s hard to take seriously that McCain believes in dialogue given your work on this board.

    Does the candidate read any of this stuff?

    It will be really interesting to see if Obama’s blogger(s) respond to comments. If so, they will have done more to further education than you have done here.

    McCain may not get my vote because of the tin-eared posting here. Obama still has to earn it, but it was McCain’s to lose.

  3. “This is my final post. I’d like to thank Eduwonk for having me as a guest on behalf of Senator John McCain. I’ve truly enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of a “living” education conversation. There is nothing like a healthy dialogue to get people excited and talking about an important issue.”

    You’re kidding me right. If McCain hadn’t just selected Sarah Palin as a running mate, I swear Virginia would of droven me to vote for Obama.

    Hopefully, McCain fires her soon.

  4. This cracks me up. Rory, Cooler Heads, marktropolis (who has gone silent), and tfeacher never defend the Dem hypocrisy on school choice. They quickly change the subject. Perhaps you are all public school teachers who send your kids to private schools. So, Clinton wins and they send Chelsea to an elite private school. Why didn’t they send Chelsea to a school in Anacostia? Obama buys a $1 million mansion and sends the kids to an elite school. Why not an inner city public school? Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieau tells a group of black parents that they can’t afford the private school where she sends her kids — Georgetown Day in DC. Al Gore sent his kid to a private school. Yet all these politicians say they care SOOOOOOOO much about inner city kids. SOOO OOO much that they won’t let them escape crappy and unsafe schools. Private schools are okay for Chelsea, Landrieu, Obama, and Gore, but they condemn low income kids (the kids they say they care SOOOOOOO much about) to crappy, unsafe schools. At least McCain wants to give those families a choice and the kids a chance.

  5. It is terribly easy for a politician to stand up and say that teacher pay should be linked to student achievement. The rhetoric sounds good and such comments make perfect sense to many people. Yet, there are at least two fundamental problems with such a proposal. First, no other occupation in the US similar to teaching relies solely on quantitative, objective measures. Second, we have not even come close to perfecting teh statistical analyses that underpin such efforts. Further, most tests currently in use do not have the psychometric properties to even conduct such analyses.

    So, promoting pay tied to performance in such a way simply exposes the lack of understanding of the McCain campaign on these issues. Obama states that teachers need more pay, but need more accountability may lack details, so too does the McCain plan. How, exactly, does McCain propose to tie pay to performance? Please point out a sound statistical model that can be used to accurately identify the effectiveness of teachers. The Obama camp knows that such plans must be made

  6. Does this education policy advisor fails to understand the defintion of a failing school, except for political motives? If one wants to espouse vouchers and reducing fund s to public education, is a failing school one which houses a high proportion of children of poverty? Wouldn’t such a school have difficulties with proficiency due to the use of achievement measures being correlated with socioeconomic status? If one is free from political motives of privatization or funneling money from public ed, wouldn’t one define a failing school as one hwere the students fail to show adequate growth? Wouldn’t they then
    have sought a value added methodology? Bring up such non -political topics and watch them run.

  7. “I am a public school teacher. My son goes to public school. You McCain supporters make me nervous.”

    For the record, Palin was the only one of the four top candidates to go to public school, and her kids also attend public school.

    She was pretty good to the public school budget here in Alaska this year.

    But let’s face it… the President has almost zero influence on K-12 education policy (NCLB being the exception).

  8. So… “creationism” is what Sarah Palin wants our science teachers to focus on? With that misplaced and misguided (and surely it is guided from a small minority of right-wing power brokers) perspective, we as a country will surely head down a road toward bigotry and fearmongering, let alone ignorance. With narrow-minded un-science backgrounds being promoted, our youth will grow up into a world dominated by informed decision making lead by those in other countries… or they will resort to using shock and awe (relying on the misguided use of science they no longer understand) rather than awe and inspire – from a wisdom grounded in openness to multiple perspective and respect for the rigors of “Evidence-based” science-informed decision making.

  9. I was about to post a rebuttal to the claim that Sarah Palin wants creationism taught in the schools, but this past few days have taught me that common sense in political discussion is impossible. Besides something tells me that there is exactly zero chance of swaying your political opinion.

    My kids go to school in Anchorage. Creationism is not taught. There is no movement by the Governor to push for creationism being taught.

  10. From that article:

    “In an interview Thursday, Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms:

    “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”

    She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum. “

  11. I don’t care what she “meant”, I care what she said. She added that she wouldn’t push for, but not that she wouldn’t allow, creation-based alternatives. So, who the hell knows what she intends, or how she would vote, of for what she would push. But it is clear from her record she is a “conservative” dream, and her willingness to pander to creationists is bad enough for me, and should be for everyone.

    It’s a bit disingenuous, rory, to quote that part of the story, as it does not refute my assertion (or sketch’s). She is pandering, out of both sides of her mouth.

  12. Calm down tfteacher…

    Take a deep breath.

    My opinion, and the majority of opinion here in Alaska is that she has no intention of forcing her personal beliefs on schools. She has stated it. As Governor she had way more opportunity to push creationism that she will as VP or POTUS, and she didn’t even attempt it, despite record popularity.

    Wait for the first couple of interviews, see what she says. The question will be asked.

    Peace baby!

  13. I’m sick of hearing about the schools that Obama’s daughters attend. It’s been in all of these McCain team posts. It is a blatant personal attack. Whether Obama or McCain will be a good or bad education president will depend on the effectiveness of their policies. Obama’s education policies don’t depend on his daughter’s school any more than McCain’s economic policies depend on the number of houses he owns.

    On a day that, Obama himself has said, “Let me be as clear as possible. I think people’s families are off-limits, and people’s children are especially off-limits. This shouldn’t be part of our politics. [Her daughter’s pregnancy] has no relevance to Gov. Palin’s performance as governor or her potential performance as a vice president.”, I just needed to speak out about how stupid some of these debates have become.


  14. While Brian is clearly a man on a mission (posting on school choice, whether that’s the topic or not) I do feel the need to reply to what sounds like some kind of attack. Why would I defend hypocrisy? So I’m getting accused of not doing something, because I haven’t done it? And the evidence is… that I haven’t done it. Brian sweeps into the middle of a conversation, drops his screed on choice, and then evaporates (as he did more than once last week). Also, I don’t actually see it as hypocritical. I can send my kids to private school, and still work diligently for the public schools that others’ kids attend. Using your logic, if I’m going to do anything for those kids in Anacostia, I have to move there.

    My view of hypocrisy is along the lines of someone who doesn’t know how many homes he has, claiming to understand what struggling to pay your mortgage feels like. Or criticizing your opponent for his lack of experience, and then you bring someone in to be your number two with even less.

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