Edwards Highlights Plans to Restore the Promise of America's Schools

Discusses proposals to ensure there are excellent teachers in every classroom and that every high school is an excellent school

(Manchester, NH) – Today, during a visit to the Oyster River High School high school in Durham, New Hampshire, Senator John Edwards discussed his plans ensure that every child in America gets the quality education they deserve. Edwards highlighted his proposals to ensure that there are excellent teachers in every classroom andthat every high school is an excellent school.

“Education is an issue that’s very personal for me,” said Edwards. “I grew up in a small, rural town and my parents didn’t have a lot of money. But I was lucky to have public school teachers who taught me to believe that somebody from a little town in North Carolina could do just about anything if he worked hard and played by the rules.

“I believe that every child deserves to have the same chances I had, and I know a great education starts with a great teacher,” Edwards continued. “Study after study shows that no single factor has a greater impact on the quality of a child's education than his or her teacher. Yet too often, teachers are not paid or treated like the professionals they are. Students in poor urban and rural schools are more likely to have less experienced and effective teachers. While pay for CEOs and other highly paid workers skyrocketed in recent years, teachers earn a fraction of the salaries paid to other educated professionals.”

During his speech today, Edwards emphasized his specific plans to ensure that every classroom has an excellent teacher. Edwards called for reducing classroom sizes and increasing pay for teachers in successful high-poverty schools. He also proposed giving extra support to teachers in the first years of their careers and stepping up efforts to recruit and train new teachers.

Building on his proposals for recruiting and training more high quality teachers, Edwards also outlined his plan to promote excellence at high schools across America. Edwards called for launching a “Great Schools” initiative to build and expand on 1,000 successful school across the country and establishing stronger academic and career curricula. Edwards also highlighted his plans to raise graduation rates by creating multiple paths to graduation such as Second Chance schools for former dropouts and smaller alternative schools for at-risk students. Finally, Edwards called for the creation of a Community Corps program forhigh school students to engage more students in well-integrated and high quality service activities.

For further details, please see Edwards’ “An Excellent Teacher in Every Classroom” and “Excellent High Schools Across America” papers included in Position Papers.