July 17th, 2008
12:02 PM ET
6 years ago

Commentary: McCain right, Obama wrong on school vouchers

 Roland Martin says school vouchers should be an option for families with kids in dead-end schools.
Roland Martin says school vouchers should be an option for families with kids in dead-end schools.

ACCRA, Ghana (CNN) - "All I want is for my children to get the best education they can."

That statement, along with so many others, has been a consistent one that I've heard on my radio show and in discussions with parents for years, especially those whose children are stuck in inner-city schools with decrepit buildings and a lack of critical resources.

And for the past 20 years, one of the most talked-about solutions for parents stuck in dead-end, failing schools is to give them the option to use vouchers to send their children someplace where they could get a quality education.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Bulldog

    What about just fixing the school system rather than giving people money to send them to other schools? Do we want solutions or band aids?

    July 17, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. zina

    Sorry, Roland. I disagree with you on this one. ALL schools need to be lifted up. If one child can be allowed to attend private schools with tax payer money, why not all? Revitalize all schools so each child has a chance to be in a winning school. Not just a select few.

    July 17, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    I don't have a problems with vouchers when the local public shools have the same amenities and backing as the private schools they will be competing against. However, we all know that is not the case. Public schools are being left behind and ignored while private private schools are able to attract and retain the best teachers, equipment, resources, etc.

    July 17, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Dave in Illinois

    Wow, even Roland admits that Obama is not right on the issue of education and school vouchers.

    Maybe if he takes a closer look at some of the other issues, he'll come to similar conclusions on them.

    July 17, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. J

    and who exactly would actually use vouchers?

    July 17, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. Uncle Sam

    Once again, John McCain demonstrates his courage and forthrightness in speaking at the NAACP Convention. And speaking of the importance of school choice, including vouchers.

    Americans for McCain '08

    July 17, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. PG

    "Give them the option to use vouchers to send their children someplace where they could get a quality education." This is a fine idea......BUT.......

    The primary focus needs to be/must be helping failied schools. It is a cop out to give vouchers if the main problem of fixing the school system is neglected.

    So Mr. Martin Obama is right and McSame well...no comment.

    July 17, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. franco

    Using my critical thinking capabilities, I ask myself about.......
    change and donors:

    Small donors are donating to Obama's campaign in order to get "change," so the question is:

    What kind of change will they receive in retribution?????????

    Big donors, Washington insiders, are investing in Obama's campaign in order to get "change," so the question is:

    What kind of change will they receive in retribution?????/

    July 17, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. gary

    OBAMA IS WRONG PERIOD FOR OUR COUNTRY. AMERICA GETS WHAT THEY ASK FOR.

    July 17, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. Jan

    It's nice to see Roland Martin write an unbiased article about Obama/McCain. So many of CNN contributers can't see the issues for being blinded and deafened by BO's "words". Keep up the good work, Roland–We need fair and balanced more often!

    July 17, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. Joe

    What does John McSenile know about family or education?

    Nothing except what his advisors tell him, then he forgets it.

    July 17, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Was a Democrat-Now an Independent

    Roland Martin should not have been on CNN during the primaries. His favoritism toward Obama was very apparent, and he should have been more honest with the public. Well, CNN should have just introduced him as an Obama supporter rather than a commentator or pundit. Since then, I do not put any credence in anything he says about any candidate. CNN should save the space and hire more objective journalists.

    July 17, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Ervin

    Roland, sorry dude, I have to agree with Obama on this one.
    If everyone is allowed to send their children to better schools by simply avoiding "innercity schools", then we will have ABANDONED innercity schools, and ONLY thugs and the very poor will populate innercity schools.

    How about strengthening the innercity schools by providing better qualified teachers and administrators, and injecting "funds" into neighborhood schools to attract and retain the best teachers.

    Otherwise, it's nothing but reversed "white flight". Black Americans cannot solve our problems by blindly following white Americans to the suburbs, and back into the inner city, then crying gentrification is destroying our neighborhoods. We must stay and fight the thugs and strenthen the single-family households through education and administrative support.

    Peace!!!!

    July 17, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. JFA

    The problem is prothletyzing to school age children Rev. Ronland Martin!

    July 17, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  15. rightytighty

    Wow!!

    July 17, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. Betty

    Roland: I think you and other media need to go to some of these so called voucher and charter schools; most are terrible.

    July 17, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. Tx Dem

    Wasn't this story on yesterday's ticker?

    What I don't understand is – why create a voucher? Why not "fix" the "failing schools"??

    July 17, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. judy, Wisconsin

    I think the whole voucher idea is just plain stupid. How can the so called "good" schools take in all the other students, and what happens to all the children left in the so called "bad" schools? All schools need to be improved as much as possible for all students. Invest in all the schools, not just a few students who get vouchers. "No Child Left Behind"–typical Republican slogan, means just the opposite.

    July 17, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. John

    wow this one is not filled with the Obamatrons (Thank you Mike Baker for this glorious word)

    July 17, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Jerry, Florida

    Oh my God, I can't believe it. Roland Martin agrees with Senator McCain. Wow!!! This must definitely be a first.

    Now, now, you are going to be in trouble with Senator Obama and his supporters. Do you know that? Within the Senator's campaign, no one (black, white, Jewish, Latino, or Asian, etc.) can go against his wishes.

    I think I am starting to admire you. By the way, I am a life-long Democrat.

    Stay tuned...

    July 17, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Ex-Republican for Obama

    Vouchers are the absolute WRONG answer. The tax payers and residents of a good school are the one's who must reap the rewards of that school. Over crowding them with students who's parents did NOTHING to make that school what it is, is nothing more then Charity.

    It is up to the community to make their schools better. Don't make me pay more taxes so that I can support my school district as well as your vouchers to attend it.

    A plan such as this will see the top schools quickly over populated, and the local children forced to look for other schools due to waiting lists barring them from attending their own local schools.

    July 17, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. joe

    mccain is always wrong. mccain was wrong at first when he said he was right. mccain go home please. obama will be the next president.

    July 17, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. Rita

    This is absolutely absurd. People should not have to ship their children across town and go through the process of getting a voucher just for their children to get a good education in the most prosperous country on earth. The current voucher system is bogus I might add you have a choice between a number of low to average performing schools. You can go from a low-performing school to an excellent one, at least not here in Alabama. And even if you are zoned for a low-performing school, if the school met its AYP goal for the last two years you can't get a voucher anyway. It's a bunch of bull, and besides, what happens to all those children left behind in the messed up schools??? What kind of a solution is this?! I totally disagree with Roland Martin on this one. It might be a good quick fix for a select number of families who have used it and support it but it does not solve the big overreaching problem that the public schools in inner and rural cities are not suitable educational institutions, period.

    July 17, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. Independent Fred

    Roland your heart is in the right place but you simply forget about the evil of men..

    Where I live here in Illinois we're just recovering from a corrupt system that purposely neglected student bases on what side of town they were from.

    East siders great education, teachers & books.
    West siders crap education, teachers & books.

    Yes the federal gov't was able to prove this was done on purpose.
    The evil of men & women knows no bounds.

    July 17, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. He Doesn't Have A Clue

    McCain is never right.

    Obama 08

    July 17, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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