Monday, August 27, 2012

Andrei Cherney for Congress Part II

I did want to follow up my first post especially since I did get a response from a volunteer on the Schapira campaign regarding his education platform.  I hope I'm not being too presumptive publishing it here:
I have attached the American Federation of Teachers questionnaire and below have pasted the essay questions that were asked by the National Education Association and answered by David.
A.    Please describe the top three public education priorities (pre-k through higher education) on which you would focus in Congress and why. 

A.    1. Reforming ESEA collaboratively with educators and school leaders – focusing on what is best to improve student success. We cannot allow ESEA to continue restricting states and local school districts with burdensome regulations and bureaucratic red tape that does not advance student achievement.   2. Improving access to affordable higher education through Pell Grants to prepare American students for the 21st Century economy. Increased access to higher education will strengthen our economy and increase opportunities for students across the country. An investment in education today will make all the difference in America’s future. 3. Preserving and increasing funding for Head Start so that working families can provide early childhood education to their kids and ensure that our students have a strong foundation to build upon. Working families shouldn’t have to choose between paying their bills and ensuring a strong educational experience for their children – Congress can provide increased financial resources to eliminate that conflict.

B.    Please explain how, as a Member of Congress, you would specifically build respect for the education profession in order to help attract and retain the highest quality educators in pre-k through higher education. 

B.    As a former high-school teacher and university instructor, I would be a positive exemplar of our profession in Congress. Education and increasing student achievement have been the priorities of my political career and will continue to be in Congress. It is important for Congress to include education professionals in policy making so that we can develop teacher evaluation processes that are respectful of teaching as a profession, that apprise teachers of strengths and flaws and provide professional development to strengthen weak areas. I believe as a nation we must bring focus back to the importance of education, recognizing that having a strong teacher in every classroom is one of the keys to student success. I understand that we must work towards a system that offers not only competitive salary and benefits, but also positive work environments that foster professional development in order to attract the best and brightest professionals to education, and give them the respect they deserve.

  1. Please explain your position on increasing federal support for public higher education, particularly given the need for global competitiveness? 

C. The strength of our education system and our economy are intertwined. We must invest in education to build a highly-educated, sustainable workforce that will allow the United States to compete in the 21st Century. In the past, economic competition has been between states, but now the United States is competing with countries around the globe like India and China. Education will be key to our nation’s ability to ensure global competitiveness, and we must make it a national priority. By increasing federal support for public higher education, we can begin to level the playing field for all students, regardless of background or socioeconomic status. Federal support is critical to ensuring that every student is assured the equal opportunity they deserve to achieve the American Dream. We cannot ignore the importance of education as we discuss the future of the U.S. economy in a globalized world.

I think this is all really good and accurate. I recently an article putting into question some of Bush's reforms to put undue national burdens on "failing schools".  I've also have Diane Ravtich's book, "The Death and Life of the American School System". Both echo some of the points Schapira makes here and in other forums.

I am still of the opinion, though, that Cherney has a better grasp of the central issues facing the US nationally that extend well beyond education - medicare reform, unemployment, jobs.  This is a tough race with three really great candidates.  I'm voting for Cherney, but I will definitely throw my support behind the winner of tomorrow's election as they shift gears toward November.

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