Hillary Clinton made the rounds of the morning news shows today – spanning the stations but staying on message. Unfortunately, education was not among the issues she discussed. She stuck to Iraq, defense, campaign finance and health care.
But she is among the candidates on the Yahoo/Slate/Huffington Post do-it-yourself debate, which can be found here.
You pick a candidate, then pick an issue. Then you get moderator Charlie Rose and your candidate.
Here are the highlights of Clinton on education in the Democratic mash-up.
She said presidential debates have not paid enough attention to education, treating it as an afterthought. She harked to a “vigorous agenda,” then hit the high notes she raises at each campaign stop: Universal Pre-Kindergarten; fixing No Child Left Behind, which she called an unfunded mandate; affordable college and career/technical training.
She also said the nation must “take a hard look at what the role of the family is and of society” in education. Citizens should ask if education in 2007 is working. Clinton noted that classrooms have not changed much over the years, with the exception of adding computers and other technology. They still contain desks, chairs, writing boards, books. The basic elements of instruction are the same. She wants people to ask, how do we better prepare children for what they will face once they graduate.
Rose followed up her comments, asking why education has not come along as fast as other societal changes. Clinton quickly responded that there are several reasons, but the key factor is one of the main reasons people read education stories: “One reason is everyone has gone through it and each person has opinions on it. Everyone is an expert on education because we went to school.” She said the nation has not reached a consensus on education that reflects today’s reality.
Charlie fielded one “caller” question, from Jonathan Kozol, who asked about testing. Clinton said she believes in accountability, harking to her work on Arkansas’ education reform, but went on with the sound bite of the evening: “I do think there is a place for testing but we should not look at our children as though they are little walking tests.” (Almost as good as the Darth Vader comment during the Manhattan Town Hall confab).
She said schools should offer a “broad, rich curriculum,” but offered no details on what that curriculum should include. Also little of substance regarding how to fix NCLB.
The Dem candidates are set to spar again Wednesday evening, Sept. 26, on MSNBC. Check your local listing for the time. I'll watch and see what Clinton says about education and share it with you.
~ Cathy Grimes