12:00 PM | Posted in , ,
In honor of Joe Biden as the Vice Presidential pick for the Democratic ticket, I am going to offer up some posts from the archives highlighting the man who I originally supported as the top of the ticket but am more than pleased to see back on the ticket even if it is as the VP.

Biden and education:

Education is of the highest priority to me as a parent and as a teacher. Beyond any other issue it is education which drives my vote for any given candidate. I have seen the systematic attack upon education by Republicans. Do they support education? Of course, but the problem is that they seem to have no understanding of how to educate and this has lead them on a foolish quest for more bubble tests, punishment over praise, and a constant blame game upon the unions that they believe have destroyed education. I have yet to find a Republican whom I could support purely because of their continued insistence upon weakening PUBLIC education.

They seem to believe that using a one size fits all testing method given on one day and assessing the most basic forms of knowledge can somehow result in an accurate portrayal of a students abilities. This is but a snapshot that certainly has some uses but to use such data as a cudgel on those schools that don't make "adequate progress" is shortsighted and foolish. It tries to invalidate an entire year of assessments given by teachers to provide a much broader and accurate portrayal of a students abilities.

Their continued blame of unions for the inadequacies or failure of schools is nothing more than a veiled attempt at breaking the union and moving closer to a privatized education system in which the haves get great education and the have nots are left to fend for themselves on the bottom rung of the free market. I am often reminded of their claim that supporting the troops means you must support the war. If, as they insist, by not supporting the war we are demoralizing the troops, shouldn't they also recognize that not supporting teachers and the organizations they run is as equally demoralizing?

Joe Biden has unveiled his vision for education. These are all items that will help educators and children to succeed. It is a bold vision to be sure, but we need a bolder vision than the test, test, test mindset of the past seven years.

Some Highlights:

Biden's plan would add two years of preschool to the public school system. It would fully fund Head Start and other early childhood programs, and expand education and nutrition programs that begin at birth. Biden said he believes the earlier children start their education, the better prepared they will be for life.
Biden said he wants all Americans to have access to college. He proposed credits and grants up to $12,000 per child to help cover the average costs at a two-year-college, or half of the average costs at a four-year college. His plan would also allow families to claim tax credits for more than one child per year.
Biden proposed expanding the maximum amount available in Pell Grants from $4,310 a year to $6,300. Legislation signed by President Bush in September would increase the current amount to $5,400 by 2012.
Biden proposed hiring an additional 100,000 teachers to help reduce class size, aimed at average classes of 18 students. The federal government would assist states in doing so by providing $2 billion a year in grants to attract more teachers and pay for incentives. He added that teachers should be able to start their careers at a minimum of $45,000 per year.