John McCain on Education

Republican nominee for President; Senior Senator (AZ)


Achieved equality in schools; but failing schools don’t help

McCAIN: [Education reform] is the civil rights issue of the 21st century. There’s no doubt that we have achieved equal access to schools in America after a long and difficult and terrible struggle. But what is the advantage in a low income area of sending a child to a failed school and that being your only choice?

So choice and competition amongst schools is one of the key elements that’s already been proven in places in like New Orleans and New York City and other places, where we have charter schools, where we take good teachers and we reward them and promote them. And we find bad teachers another line of work.

We have to be able to give parents the same choice, frankly, that Sen. Obama and Mrs. Obama had and Cindy and I had to send our kids & their kids to the school of their choice.

Charter schools aren’t the only answer, but they’re providing competition. They are providing the kind of competitions that have upgraded both types of schools.

Source: 2008 third presidential debate against Barack Obama , Oct 15, 2008

I want schools to answer to parents and students

Education is the civil rights issue of this century. Equal access to public education has been gained. But what is the value of access to a failing school? We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice. Let’s remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work. When a public school fails to meet the -- its obligations to students -- when it fails to meet its obligations to students, parents deserve a choice in the education of their children, and I intend to give it to them. Some may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private one. Many will choose a charter school. But they will have the choice and their children will have that opportunity. Obama wants our schools to answer to unions and entrenched bureaucrats. I want schools to answer to parents and students. And when I’m president, they will.
Source: Speech at 2008 Republican National Convention , Sep 4, 2008

Pay bonuses to teachers in the most troubled schools

We will pay bonuses to teachers who take on the challenge of working in our most troubled schools--because we need their fine minds and good hearts to help turn those schools around. We will award bonuses as well to our highest-achieving teachers. And no longer will we measure teacher achievement by conformity to process. We will measure it by the success of their students. Moreover, the funds for these bonuses will not be controlled by faraway officials. Under my reforms, we will entrust both the funds and the responsibilities where they belong in the office of the school principal. One reason that charter schools are so successful, and so sought-after by parents, is that principals have spending discretion. And I intend to give that same discretion to public school principals. No longer will money be spent in service to rigid and often meaningless formulas. Relying on the good judgment and first-hand knowledge of school principals, education money will be spent in service to public school students.
Source: McCain-Obama speeches at 99th NAACP Convention , Jul 12, 2008

Target funding to recruit top graduates as teachers

I will target funding to recruit teachers who graduate in the top 25 percent of their class, or who participate in an alternative teacher recruitment program such as Teach for America, the American Board for Teacher Excellence, and the New Teacher Project.
Source: McCain-Obama speeches at 99th NAACP Convention , Jul 12, 2008

Direct $750 million to build virtual schools

I propose to direct $500 million to build new virtual schools and to support the development of online courses for students. Through competitive grants, we will allocate another $250 million to support state programs expanding education opportunities, including the creation of public virtual charter schools. States can use these funds to build virtual math and science academies to help expand the availability of Advanced Placement courses, online tutoring, and foreign language courses.
Source: McCain-Obama speeches at 99th NAACP Convention , Jul 12, 2008

Give parents easier access to obtain help for their children

Under my reforms parents will exercise freedom of choice in obtaining extra help for children falling behind. Federal aid to parents for tutoring for their children has to go through another bureaucracy. They can’t purchase the tutoring directly, without having to deal with the same education establishment that failed their children in the first place. These needless restrictions will be removed. If a student needs extra help, parents will be able to sign them up to get it, with direct public support.
Source: McCain-Obama speeches at 99th NAACP Convention , Jul 12, 2008

Shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition

In the global economy what you learn is what you earn. Today, half of Latinos and half of African Americans entering high school will never graduate. By the 12th grade, U.S. students in math and science score near the bottom of all industrialized nations

Many parents fear their children won’t have the same opportunities they had. That is simply unacceptable in a country as great as ours. In many schools, particularly where people are struggling the hardest, the situation is dire, and I believe poses the civil rights challenge of our time. We need to shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition; hold schools accountable for results; strengthen math, science, technology and engineering curriculums; empower parents with choice; remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward superior teachers, and have a fair but sure process to weed out incompetents.

Source: Obama & McCain back-to-back speeches at NALEO , Jun 28, 2008

View has evolved on intelligent design vs. evolution

In a 2005 interview, McCain revealed his evolving views on "intelligent design," a pseudoscientific notion devised by creationists as a tool to undermine the teaching of evolution. In 2000, McCain had declared that the teaching of intelligent design was matter for local school boards to decide, in contrast to George W. Bush's belief that creationism itself should be taught in classrooms. In 2005, however, McCain expressed more openness to the idea of intelligent design, saying that "different schools of thought" about the origins of mankind should be presented to students.

Contrary to McCain's claim, the scientific community has in fact rejected intelligent design as a credible scientific theory. In 2002, the American Association for the Advancement o Science published a resolution in which the organization determined that proponents of intelligent design had "failed to offer credible scientific evidence to support their claim that intelligent design undermines the accepted theory of evolution."

Source: Free Ride, by David Brock and Paul Waldman, p.167-168 , Mar 25, 2008

Endorses teaching intelligent design in schools

Meaningless social-policy gestures of the type McCain used to savage on the campaign trail--the senator now, for instance, endorses the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, even though the chances of a president having any effect on school curricula are as remote as dinosaurs coming back to life.
Source: The Myth of a Maverick, by Matt Welch, p.186 , Oct 9, 2007

Teaching creationism should be decided by school districts

Q: Do you believe creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the nation’s schools?

No, I believe that’s up to the school districts. But I think that every American should be exposed to all theories. There’s no doubt in my mind that the hand of God was in what we are today. And I do believe that we are unique, and I believe that God loves us. But I also believe that all of our children in school can be taught different views on different issues. I leave the curricula up to the school boards.

Source: 2007 GOP debate at Saint Anselm College , Jun 3, 2007

Believes in evolution, but sees the hand of God in nature

Q: Do you believe in evolution?

McCAIN: Yes.

Q: I’m curious, is there anybody on the stage that does not agree, believe in evolution?

[TANCREDO, HUCKABEE, and BROWNBACK raise their hands, indicating that they do not believe in evolution].

McCAIN: I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC , May 3, 2007

Against nationally imposed standards & funding strings

Q: Should federal money be linked to how well students perform on national or statewide tests? A: I do not favor nationally imposed standards or federal funding strings. State and local education agencies should be responsible for developing & enforcing high academic standards. I don’t believe we should penalize students by taking away limited education dollars according to federal dictates. Such strings would invariably require states to spend even more money on federally imposed bureaucratic requirements-money that would be better spent in the classroom. I propose sending education funding directly to classrooms rather than having it siphoned off by federal and state bureaucracies. If this funding flows to classrooms that continue to fail, the state should have the authority to allow students to use that funding directly for programs that best meet their academic needs. Empowering parents and students through educational choice and competition is the surest path to academic excellence.
Source: Associated Press , Feb 23, 2000

Teach virtues in all schools

I walked into a charter school classroom in Phoenix. On the desk was a children’s book of virtues. The teacher was teaching the virtue of the month, which happened to be the importance of telling the truth. We need to inject that in all of our charter schools and in schools all over America. I would provide the much needed tax breaks that are necessary to encourage them. I would certainly make them part of any voucher program, a test voucher program which I would not take out of education funds.
Source: Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate , Dec 7, 1999

Enlist retirees for tutoring

McCain wants to create a pool of military veterans, retirees and others who would tutor students in math, science and English. “You really need to have a lot more people helping kids get their education,” McCain said. Tutors can help reinforce the message that education is important and give students the support they need to succeed, McCain said. If tutors aren’t available in some neighborhoods, the Internet may be able to link them with students, he said.
Source: Associated Press , Nov 22, 1999

Good teachers should earn more than bad lawyers

Q: How can we attract the best and the brightest teachers, given the current salaries? A: I don’t see why a good teacher should be paid less money than a bad senator. It’s important that we have merit pay for teachers, that we have teacher testing, that we do everything we can to motivate young men and women to enter this profession. There’s a whole generation that’s retiring. It is unconscionable that the average salary of a lawyer is $79,000 a year and the average salary of a teacher is $39,000 a year
Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 29, 1999

Decisions on teaching evolution should be made locally

On teaching evolution in schools, McCain says the decision should be made at the local level.
Source: CNN coverage by Bruce Morton , Aug 27, 1999

Help unqualified teachers find other lines of work

McCain feels that each and every child in every classroom deserves a teacher who is qualified and enthusiastic about teaching. “Some people just aren’t meant to be teachers, and we should help them find another line of work. Because if teachers can’t teach, our kids can’t learn.”
Source: McCain for President web Site , Jul 2, 1999

Supports tax-free savings accounts for education expenses

McCain co-sponsored the Education A-Plus bill in 1997 (which Clinton vetoed) and again in 1999, to allow parents to open tax-free savings accounts for their children’s educational expenses - including tutoring, computers, and tuition.
Source: McCain for President web Site , Jul 2, 1999

Supports “Reading Excellence”; and rewarding good schools

Source: McCain for President web Site , Jul 2, 1999

Supports at-risk programs; homeless ed.; anti-drop-out ed.

Source: McCain for President web Site , Jul 2, 1999

Internet access, with filters, at every school & library

McCain seeks high-speed Internet access for every school, but suggested requiring filtering software for all public school and library computers as a way to keep children from potentially harmful Internet sites.
Source: Associated Press , Jun 14, 1999

Merit pay & competency testing for teachers

Also promoted merit-based pay for teachers, calling higher teacher salaries an “urgent necessity.” But he added that teachers should be tested for competence periodically and fired if they don’t meet certain standards.
Source: Associated Press , Jun 14, 1999

Ed-ACT Bill: college plans; language proficiency

Source: www.mccain2000.com/ “Position Papers” 5/24/99 , May 24, 1999

John McCain on School Choice

Vouchers in DC work; parents wait in line for them

OBAMA: Sen. McCain and I actually agree on charter schools. I think it’s important to foster competition inside the public schools. Where we disagree is on the idea that we can somehow give out vouchers as a way of securing the problems in our education system.

McCAIN: I’m sure you’re aware, Sen. Obama, of the program in the Washington, D.C., school system where vouchers are provided and there’s a certain number, I think it’s a thousand and some and some 9,000 parents asked to be eligible for that. Because they wanted to have the same choice that you and I and Cindy and your wife have had. And that is because they wanted to choose the school that they thought was best for their children. And we all know the state of the Washington, D.C., school system. That was vouchers, Sen. Obama. And I’m frankly surprised you didn’t pay more attention to that example.

OBAMA: The D.C. school system is in terrible shape, and it has been for a very long time.

Source: 2008 third presidential debate against Barack Obama , Oct 15, 2008

Vouchers and school choice for all

Over the years, Americans have heard a lot of “tired rhetoric” about education. We’ve heard it in the endless excuses of people who seem more concerned about their own position than about our children. We’ve heard it from politicians who accept the statu quo rather than stand up for real change in our public schools.

Parents ask only for schools that are safe, teachers who are competent, and diplomas that open doors of opportunity. When a public system fails, repeatedly, to meet these minimal objectives, parents ask only for a choice in the education of their children. Some parents may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private school. Many will choose a charter school. No entrenched bureaucracy or union should deny parents that choice and children that opportunity.

If I am elected president, school choice for all who want it, an expansion of Opportunity Scholarships, and alternative certification for teachers will all be part of a serious agenda of education reform.

Source: McCain-Obama speeches at 99th NAACP Convention , Jul 12, 2008

Offer more choices to those who wish to become teachers

Many highly qualified men and women have great knowledge, wisdom, and experience to offer public school students. But a monopoly on teacher certification prevents them from getting that chance. You can be a Nobel Laureate and not qualify to teach in most public schools today. They don’t have the proper credits in educational “theory” or “methodology”--all they have is learning and the desire and ability to share it. If we’re putting the interests of students first, those qualifications should be enough.
Source: McCain-Obama speeches at 99th NAACP Convention , Jul 12, 2008

Place parents & children at the center of education

We must fight for the ability of all students to have access to any school of demonstrated excellence. We must place parents and children at the center of the education process, empowering parents by greatly expanding the ability of parents to choose among schools for their children.
Source: Campaign plan: “Bold Solutions for Economic Prosperity” , Feb 3, 2008

We need more choice and competition in education

We need more choice & competition in education. Entrance by a good student into a college today, they have a number of choices and people are seeking them to be part of those educational institutions. We don’t have a choice & competition. We need it in K through 12. We need more charter schools & vouchers approved by the local state and school boards. We need to have home-schooling if people want that. We need to reward good teachers and find bad teachers another line of work. In Arizona, we have charter schools, some have failed, but they’re competing with the public schools, and the level of education is increasing. In New York City today, there are some remarkable things happening under Mayor Bloomberg, who has done marvelous work with an educational system that was clearly broken. Those can be examples of a way to improve education, provide choice and competition, and give every family the same choice I and my family had, and that is to send our child to the school of our choice.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican Debate , Dec 12, 2007

Charters, homeschooling, & vouchers are key to success

Q: How can we improve the quality of public schools in this country?

A: Choice and competition is the key to success in education in America. That means charter schools, that means home schooling, it means vouchers, it means rewarding good teachers and finding bad teachers another line of work. It means rewarding good performing schools, and it really means in some cases putting bad performing schools out of business. 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. And I applaud our former Governor [Jeb] Bush for the great job he’s done on education in Florida and America.

Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision , Dec 9, 2007

Local charters are the best Arizona schools

Q: To combat the teachers unions you deplore, should we have federal standardized tests?
A: You would agree with that if you believed that the power of the teachers unions cannot be broken. The teachers unions in my state fought tooth & nail against charter schools. Yet we prevailed and the best schools in my state happen to be charter schools. I believe that it’s a serious mistake to allow some bureaucrat in Washington to decide about the standards to be set by the people of the state of Arizona.
Source: GOP debate in Los Angeles , Mar 2, 2000

Let states decide if they link vouchers to student testing

McCain supports a program of federally financed vouchers, but states would decide individually whether to use standardized tests to make high-stakes decisions about who could get the vouchers.
McCain’s proposal would create the most ambitious voucher experiment yet, spending $5.5 billion over three years to present one million students with vouchers of up to $2,000 annually.
To counter the argument that vouchers siphon money from public schools when students leave, McCain would create a new source of financing: the tax money now spent as corporate subsidies.
The senator has yet to define how the vouchers would be awarded, but he has said the poorest children in the worst schools would be immediately eligible.
McCain’s voucher proposals would probably face stiff opposition in Congress. Not only would the industries targeted by McCain fight to retain their share of subsidies, but the House, as recently as last fall, declined to consider a voucher proposal.
Source: New York Times , Feb 29, 2000

Use sugar, oil, and ethanol subsidies to finance vouchers

Q: How much power should the federal government have over state education? A: Choice & competition are the key to the future of education in America. Students in America rank at the bottom in the most disciplines such as physics & chemistry. We should try charter schools all over America. I would take the gas and oil, ethanol and sugar subsidies and take that money and put it into a test voucher program over three years to be used in every poor school district in every state in America.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa , Jan 16, 2000

Tax breaks for charters - not from public school funds

I walked into a charter school classroom in Phoenix. On the desk was a children’s book of virtues. The teacher was teaching the virtue of the month, which happened to be the importance of telling the truth. We need to inject that in all of our charter schools and in schools all over America. I would provide the much needed tax breaks that are necessary to encourage them. I would certainly make them part of any voucher program, a test voucher program which I would not take out of education funds.
Source: (Cross-ref from Education) Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate , Dec 7, 1999

Vouchers & charters will improve our school system

We have to have choice and competition in our schools in order to improve our school system, including charter schools, including a test voucher program that would be paid for with ethanol subsidies and with sugar subsidies. And in order to make that system work, the test voucher program throughout America, we have to have good teachers, and I would argue that merit pay, rewards for good teachers and helping bad teachers find another line of work is the way we must go about it.
Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 29, 1999

Nationwide test of school vouchers

Our children deserve the best education we can provide to them, whether that learning takes place in a public, private or parochial school. It’s time to give middle and lower income parents the same right wealthier families have -- to send their child to the school that best meets their needs. It’s time to conduct a nationwide test of school vouchers. It’s time to democratize education.
Source: Candidacy Declaration Speech, Nashua NH , Sep 27, 1999

$5B program for 3-year test of school vouchers

McCain proposed a school voucher program to offer education opportunities for disadvantaged children, paid for by eliminating $5.4 billion worth of subsidies for ethanol, sugar, gas and oil. Under McCain’s three-year test program, disadvantaged children would receive vouchers worth $2,000 a year. The money would be used to offset the costs of attending any school chosen by the student or parents. “We shouldn’t have special interest giveaways at the expense of our neediest children,” McCain said.
Source: Mike Glover, Associated Press , Jul 29, 1999

Tax-funded vouchers for private schools or charter schools

McCain’s platform calls for a school voucher program that would give tax money to middle- and lower-income families to send their children to private schools. And he praised charter schools - publicly funded schools that often serve a specialized curriculum and operate free from many government mandates.
Source: Associated Press , Jun 14, 1999

Shift policy-making from bureaucrats to parents

McCain knows we can save public education if we “have the courage to do more than placate the defenders of the status quo.” McCain [supports] more money reaching our classrooms, increased financial flexibility for parents, greater choices for families, and well-trained teachers. He [opposes] Washington bureaucrats and public education unions dictating education policies. He believes in letting parents, educators, and local communities make the important decisions about our children’s education.
Source: www.mccain2000.com/ “Position Papers” 5/24/99 , May 24, 1999

Vouchers needed where teachers fail

McCain believes school vouchers should be available to parents in order that they may place their children in the best learning environment for their particular needs. He feels that each and every child in every classroom deserves a teacher who is qualified and enthusiastic about teaching. “Some people just aren’t meant to be teachers, and we should help them find another line of work. Because if teachers can’t teach, our kids can’t learn.”
Source: www.mccain2000.com/ “Position Papers” 5/24/99 , May 24, 1999

Vouchers for any schools; more charter schools

Source: 1998 National Political Awareness Test , Jul 2, 1998

John McCain on Voting Record

Unrestricted block grants--let states decide spending

McCain would be reluctant to tie federal dollars to a school’s academic standing. But he seems intent on pleasing conservatives by extracting the federal government from most school-level spending decisions. McCain has said he would present most federal education money to states in unrestricted block grants -- he would include an additional $500 million earmarked broadly for teachers’ merit pay -- and leave it to the states and districts to spend as they see fit.
Source: New York Times , Feb 29, 2000

Voted NO on $52M for "21st century community learning centers".

To increase appropriations for after-school programs through 21st century community learning centers. Voting YES would increase funding by $51.9 million for after school programs run by the 21st century community learning centers and would decrease funding by $51.9 million for salaries and expenses in the Department of Labor.
Reference: Amendment to Agencies Appropriations Act; Bill S Amdt 2287 to HR 3010 ; vote number 2005-279 on Oct 27, 2005

Voted NO on $5B for grants to local educational agencies.

To provide an additional $5 billion for title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Voting YES would provide:
Reference: Elementary and Secondary Education Amendment; Bill S Amdt 2275 to HR 3010 ; vote number 2005-269 on Oct 26, 2005

Voted NO on shifting $11B from corporate tax loopholes to education.

Vote to adopt an amendment to the Senate's 2006 Fiscal Year Budget Resolution that would adjust education funding while still reducing the deficit by $5.4 billion. A YES vote would:
Reference: Kennedy amendment relative to education funding; Bill S AMDT 177 to S Con Res 18 ; vote number 2005-68 on Mar 17, 2005

Voted NO on funding smaller classes instead of private tutors.

Vote to authorize a federal program aimed at reducing class size. The plan would assist states and local education agencies in recruiting, hiring and training 100,000 new teachers, with $2.4 billion in fiscal 2002. This amendment would replace an amendment allowing parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors.
Reference: Bill S1 ; vote number 2001-103 on May 15, 2001

Voted NO on funding student testing instead of private tutors.

Vote to pass an amendment that would authorize $200 million to provide grants to help states develop assessment systems that describe student achievement. This amendment would replace an amendment by Jeffords, R-VT, which would allow parents with children at under-performing schools to use public funding for private tutors.
Reference: Bill S1 ; vote number 2001-99 on May 10, 2001

Voted NO on spending $448B of tax cut on education & debt reduction.

Vote to reduce the size of the $1.6 trillion tax cut by $448 billion while increasing education spending by $250 billion and providing an increase of approximately $224 billion for debt reduction over 10 years.
Reference: Bill H Con Res 83 ; vote number 2001-69 on Apr 4, 2001

Voted YES on declaring memorial prayers and religious symbols OK at schools.

Vote to declare that erecting religious symbols and praying on public school campuses as part of a memorial service does not violate the First Amendment to the Constitution, and to provide legal assistance to any government entity defending such a case.
Reference: Bill S.254 ; vote number 1999-121 on May 18, 1999

Voted YES on allowing more flexibility in federal school rules.

This vote was a motion to invoke cloture on a bill aimed at allowing states to waive certain federal rules normally required in order to use federal school aid. [A YES vote implies support of charter schools and vouchers].
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)55; N)39; NV)6
Reference: Motion to Invoke cloture on Jeffords Amdt #31; Bill S. 280 ; vote number 1999-35 on Mar 9, 1999

Voted YES on education savings accounts.

This Conference Report approved tax-sheltered education savings accounts.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)59; N)36; NV)5
Reference: H.R. 2646 Conference Report; Bill H.R. 2646 ; vote number 1998-169 on Jun 24, 1998

Voted YES on school vouchers in DC.

This legislation would have amended the DC spending measure, imposing an unconstitutional school voucher program on the District.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)58; N)41; NV)1
Reference: DC Appropriations Act; Bill S. 1156 ; vote number 1997-260 on Sep 30, 1997

Voted YES on $75M for abstinence education.

Vote to retain a provision of the Budget Act that funds abstinence education to help reduce teenage pregnancy, using $75 million of the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Program.
Reference: Bill S 1956 ; vote number 1996-231 on Jul 23, 1996

Voted YES on requiring schools to allow voluntary prayer.

Cut off federal funds to school districts that deny students their right to constitutionally protected voluntary prayer.
Reference: Bill S.1513 ; vote number 1994-236 on Jul 27, 1994

Voted NO on national education standards.

Approval of national education standards.
Status: Bill Passed Y)71; N)25; NV)4
Reference: Goals 2000: Educate America Act; Bill H.R. 1804 ; vote number 1994-34 on Feb 8, 1994

Focus educational resources to help those with greatest need.

McCain adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership agenda item:

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) helps to fulfill the most basic mission of federal education programs—equal opportunity for all children. To help improve the federal role in education, the Republican Main Street Partnership has identified the following areas that should receive priority during the reauthorization of IDEA:

Source: 2001 GOP Main Street Partnership Action Agenda for Education 01-RMSP2 on Jul 2, 2001

Require state standards, regular assessments, and sanctions.

McCain adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership agenda item:

Source: 2001 GOP Main Street Partnership Action Agenda for Education 01-RMSP3 on Jul 2, 2001

Support Ed-Flex: more flexibility if more accountable.

McCain adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership agenda item:

Source: 2001 GOP Main Street Partnership Action Agenda for Education 01-RMSP4 on Jul 2, 2001

Rated 45% by the NEA, indicating a mixed record on public education.

McCain scores 45% by the NEA on public education issues

The National Education Association has a long, proud history as the nation's leading organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Founded in 1857 "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States," the NEA has remained constant in its commitment to its original mission as evidenced by the current mission statement:

To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all.
In pursuing its mission, the NEA has determined that it will focus the energy and resources of its 2.7 million members toward the "promotion of public confidence in public education." The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: NEA website 03n-NEA on Dec 31, 2003

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