Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Preliminary "Response" from Obama Campaign

We have received a response from the Obama campaign that at least discusses education policy. Unfortunately it doesn't really address SPECIAL education, but hey at least they aren't ignoring us. By the way thanks to a tip from our buddy Justin, we have also attempted to leave our ten questions to the candidates as a comment on the Eduwonk website which is permitting the candidates to discuss education issues the next few weeks at http://www.eduwonk.com/2008/08/editors-note.html
The following is the verbatim response of the Obama campaign:

Dear Friend,
Thank you for contacting me about the critical importance of reforming America’s schools. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue, and I agree that we must do more to ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed.Too often our leaders present this issue as an either-or debate, divided between giving our schools more funding and demanding more accountability. We should do both.Our kids deserve a better chance at every level – from preschool and summer school, to high school and college. Last year, I introduced the Innovation Districts for School Improvement Act, which provides grants to school systems that draft detailed plans for broad reforms at the district level. In addition, I have introduced a bill to promote summer learning opportunities for disadvantaged children, supported increased funding for the Head Start program to help provide preschoolers with critically important learning skills, and co-authored a bipartisan bill to help exceptional high school students enroll in college-level courses elsewhere if their school does not offer them.We can’t stop there. The demands of the modern global economy have made higher education more necessary than ever, even as the costs of college continue to soar. To address this, my first proposal as a U.S. senator was a bill to make college more affordable by increasing the maximum Pell Grant to $5100. I also cosponsored the Student Debt Relief Act, which encourages colleges to participate in the Direct Loan program, increases need-based aid, and decreases fees and interest rates for student loansFinally, the teacher is the most important factor in successfully educating our children, and we need to give our teachers everything they need to succeed. That means changing the certification process so that qualified applicants can avoid expensive additional coursework to become teachers; pairing up new recruits with master teachers; and giving proven teachers more control over what goes on in their classrooms. It also means paying teachers what they’re worth.
To learn more about my plans to revitalize education, please click here: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/education/
To read a major speech I gave on education, please click here: http://www.barackobama.com/2007/11/20/remarks_of_senator_barack_obam_34.phpI encourage you to share your own thoughts and policy ideas about education through the My Policy tool on the first web page linked above. Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue.
Sincerely,Barack Obama-------------------------------------Paid for by Obama for America


  1. They might as well be ignoring you since they didn't actually address you questions ... at ALL!

    I went ahead and left a post requesting the McCain education adviser posting at Eduwonk this week address special education issues.

    You can see my request here: http://www.eduwonk.com/2008/08/well-lets-get-started.html

  2. Looks like a form letter to me.

    I haven't seen/heard anything revealing from either candidate that inspires.

  3. Here's the comment I left...I'll be curious to see if they ever address this issue..."Let me second the request for a discussion of special needs issues. In my opinion, the biggest problem is lack of acountability in enforcment of the laws on the books (IDEA 2004 notably). As near as I can tell, John McCain doesn't know this problem exists and Barack Obama is too beholden to the unions to push back on accoutability issues. Remember, this for many is the single issue (or kids and their education) we are going to be voting for and to date it has been ignored....15% of the population in schools are kids with spoecial needs...that's a lot of voters. For my two cents, the first candidate who effectively takes the side of the parents is going to turn a lot of votes."

  4. Thanks for your thoughts Jeremy.

    I think that you are right that many special education stakeholders(parents, teachers, service providers, paraprofessionals, administrators, lawyers, etc)are voters too.

    Jim Gerl