Thursday, October 11, 2007

Richardson's plan stresses preschool, teacher quality

Gov. Bill Richardson on Thursday laid out his plan for education during a speech at a New Hampshire high school.
Richardson said he would cut $57 billion in defense spending and put $60 billion into education instead.
Part of those funds would pay for universal preschool program for 4-year-olds, he said. Richardson has started to do that in New Mexico. He spearheaded a pilot program in 2005. That program has grown slightly over the last few years, though the $14 million he got this year still will only serve about 14 percent of the 26,000 4-year-old kids in the state.
Richardson's other proposal, setting an average starting salary for teachers at $40,000, is another attempt to take a state program to Washington. During his time as governor, the state implemented a three-tier licensure program that starts teachers at $30,000, but bumps them to a minimum $40,000 after three years and a pretty extensive evaluation process. Teachers with master's degrees and six years can earn $50,000.
Richardson said he would also hire 100,000 new math and science teachers.
He said once again that he wants to get rid of NCLB and again used his stance to distance himself from his opponents. "Some say fix it, others say tweak it. Senator Clinton says reform it," Richardson said. "I also have two words for No Child Left Behind: Scrap it. Scrap it. End it."
For more about his speech read this story.

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