What education policies could be expected from a potential John McCain administration? Throughout his Congressional career, John McCain has consistently supported making schools accountable to parents for their results, giving those parents a range of choices to act on that accountability, and rewarding effective teachers for good results with competitive pay.
On the Presidential campaign trail, McCain has expressed support for the No Child Left Behind Act, calling for “a stronger emphasis on science and math” and “major improvements in the areas of testing students with disabilities and non-English speaking students.” He has reiterated the need for a meaningful system of accountability for academic results.
Senator McCain has also called for rewarding effective and talented teachers. His market-based reform agenda calls for competitive and innovative schools that compete with each other to retain the best teachers – and in turn pay those teachers the salary they deserve. He has argued that public school teachers should be tested for competency periodically, and replaced if they do not score adequately.
He has been a continued supporter of Education Savings Accounts. In 2006, Americans invested over $5 billion in ESAs, according to the Investment Company Institute.
“I want every American parent to have a choice, a choice as to how they want their child educated, and I guarantee you the competition will dramatically increase the level of education in America,” the Senator said in a December 2007 debate.
Senator McCain’s home state of Arizona is considered a pioneer in innovative school choice programs. The nation’s first Individual Tax Credit Program, enacted in 1997, allows individual taxpayers to receive a tax credit of up to $500 ($1,000 for married couples) for donations made to scholarship tuition organizations. McCain is a regular supporter of charter schools, and frequently cited Arizona’s charters as a model for innovation and competition that should be a framework for other states.
McCain has also been a long-time supporter of vouchers, particularly for financially disadvantaged and Washington, DC students. In 2001, he offered an amendment to a bill to provide educational opportunities for economically disadvantaged children in the nation’s capital through a four-year school choice voucher program paid for by “eliminating pork barrel projects and wasteful spending in the federal budget.”
Arizona, where one in eight students is an English Language Learner, has been a battleground over bilingual education. McCain has repeatedly asserted that, while all U.S. students should become fully proficient in English, learning a second language should also be encouraged – an approach he terms “English-Plus.”
Find Archived Articles: