John McCain on Education
The American Presidential campaigns are dominated by two individuals, Senators Barrack Obama of Illinois and John McCain of Arizona. The two won their tickets after a tough tag of war in the nomination process and are to meet in the Presidential elections later in the year. Unlike the politics of most developing countries, the American politics is issue oriented, and the delectability of a candidate depends on his/her policies on some matters of public concern. These issues often go by the policy positions of a given political party, in the two-dominant system of party politics in the United States.
It is the first time in the American political history for a black to win the nomination of a major political party. This scenario has pitted McCain against Obama, an icon of change as he is viewed by political observers. Both the candidates have their own positions on different issues, as we are considering the position of Senator Mc Cain on education.
Mr. John McCain has been blamed for being too vague and shallow on his agenda on education. He may basically go by President Bush’s education policy, with so little to change. On his website at johnmaccain.com, the presidential contender is so brief, and emphasizes more on having the central government with little, if any say, on education.
McCain has laid clear his position on education with a categorical statement that education is a right to all American children. Further, these children’s schools should be dictated by their parents, and not any other authority. The Senator contends that equal opportunity calls for equal access to quality education. The key responsibility of a school is to educate the child, and so it is imperative for the said institution to avail progress report on this noble task. Schools should also operate without interference from other institutions. The Senator argues that schools should be let to compete for the most effective, character-building teachers, hire them, and reward them (johnmccain.com).
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.
McCain is of the view that the federal government should not attach strings to the funding program of schools. The respective state and school management governments should be given a leeway on developing and enforcing high academic standards. He believes that imposition of bureaucratic red tapes would do a good job in overspending on the bureaucratic technicalities, the resources that would have been better spent on other more profitable ventures like enhancing the education itself. The federal fund should be sent directly to classrooms, to reduce siphoning through federal and state bureaucracies. It should be discretionary upon the state to decide on the use of the fund if performance may be rated as dismal, to suit their academic needs. (Associated Press Feb 23, 2000)
Senator McCain is an ardent advocate of school vouchers. He is at the forefront in support of merit pay for teachers, arguing that if one is not well talented in the teaching profession; the person should be assisted to get another job. Should teachers fail to meet certain standards, s/he should be dismissed. The Senator is on record for sponsoring the Education A-Plus bill in 1997 and again in 1999. This bill would allow parents to open tax-free savings accounts for their children’s school expenses.
To promote child education, Senator McCain had a plan during his 2000 presidential party nominations to have $5.4 billion in reduction from sugar, gas and ethanol subsidies, diverting it into a test voucher program for poor school districts in America. As an advocate of liberalism, McCain voted against an amendment to fund smaller class sizes rather than providing funds for private tutors.
McCain has been consistent on affordable education, by look of his voting in the Senate. In 2006, he voted for the increase in the Pell Grant scholarship. He also advocated for math and science teacher student loan forgiveness and the restoration of education program cuts. The Senator also opposed a bill that sought to increase the federal student loans and Pell Grants proposing an expansion to eligibility for financial aid. He contends that the Government should not burden its citizens with educational debts after college.
A civil society group, Home Schoolers for McCain supports the position adopted by their candidate for a leaner government. They opine that the decision on the choice of institution a child is to be educated be a preserve of parents. Educational grants should be allowed at the lowest level from the federal government.
Associated Press. Republican Party Presidential Participate In Debate Washington January 26, 2000.
McCain, John. “Education: Excellence, Choice, and Competition in American Education” 14th July, 2008<http://www.johnmccain.com/Informing/Issues/>
McNeil Michele. John McCain on Education: Where Art Thou? A blog posted on the Education Week on January 7, 2008.
 Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision Dec 9, 2007