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. susie

    McCain is not chicken to go talk to NAACP. Yet, Obama is a chicken for not wanting to debate McCain in front of a TV audience.

    July 17, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  2. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    Money is not the solution! Look @ D.C. and St. Louis Schools where they spend more money per student than most other schools in America, yet they have the worst school systems in America. My son attended an inner city school in Norfolk Va. for 2 years wheree he was threatend bodily harm because he made the other kids look dumb so he acted dumb to keep from getting beat up. At another school in South Carolina my son was threatend for trying out for the High School Basketball Team because they said no white boy plays basketball in this school. A co-worker of my wife's daughter going to one of the best schools in Alabama was called "White" when she was selected for the National Honor Society being the only minority student so honored that year. The problem is not money, it is attitude. Those that have a good attitude toward learning and achieving and do not fold to peer pressure no matter what their place in society can move up in society. Stop the Victim Attitude and take responsibility for ones own actions.

    July 17, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Marc

    Obama? WHO IS THIS GUY?

    July 17, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. whiner

    roland ,mccain will forget all about cjildren and education as soon as he steps into office ,because he is too simple to handle more than one crises at a time,let alone the dozens of other issues.mccain will go back to his military mentality of his naval days ,and nothing else will matter.investment in all of our public schools is the right way.

    July 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. cevans, tx

    Raymond Duke,

    Can you read? Roland Martin on this issue is siding with McCain, not Obama. Only thing that you could comprehend was the fact that a BLACK man made the statement. If anyone is RACIST, it's you.

    Oh, and by the way, I totally disagree with you Mr. Martin. The inner city schools need to be fixed. Period.

    July 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. WAKE UP!!!

    For all you people trashing vouchers, ask yourselves this: what kind of education do you want YOUR children to have? It's easy to sit on a pedastal and demand stuff about the public school system, but it's a different story when it's YOUR child stuck in a broken school system. Are YOU willing to sacrifice your child's education to make a political point, or do you think YOUR child should have the best options available for a quality education? Think about that...

    July 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. karen-phoenix

    I live in AZ and work for a school system here. McCain and his buddies tried to make this a "charter school" state. NOT working!!! We need to back up our public school systems. Free public education is the back bone of this country!!!! AZ is just about 50th in the US in pay for teachers and acheivments. Its not good here and the charter schools aren't any better because its based on money. I agree our schools need revamping BUT private and charter are not the way to go. It's just like health care in the country. It needs a lot of help and revizing!!

    July 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. KMAN

    If there are problems existing specific schools be they be inter-city or otherwise ... the itteligent solution would be to adress and illiminate the problems ... NOT giving out vouchers to escape the problem! Vouchers are not likely going to be used by the parents of the children most needing improvemment in their local schools. If a ship has a problem with the structure of it's hull ... buying more life boats really doesn't address the core problem and neither does giving out vouchers!! Mr. Roland ... you are wrong on this one as is McPanderer!!

    July 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Nancy in San Jose

    In an age when the future of America is hanging in balance and the republican negative attacks which are mostly unfair and below the belt, I don't know why the democrats do not learn to keep their mouth shut and wait until the guy is in the office before criticizing him and give the other side some live ammunition. Is being in the news and staying relevant that important Mr. Martin? Are you that desperate to be in the news that you are willing to do it in the expense of future of America? Wake up people, wake up.

    July 17, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. Canuck

    dems view: teacher unions & NEA < than children's future. uneducated kids depend on gov't to exist. dems get both union $$$s to get elected and give our $$$s to uneducated to get their votes.
    simple math.

    July 17, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. bij

    Umm....for those of you who don't watch CNN because of people like jack and roland then you have missed out on some of the best journalism that's out there! if you don't watch cnn, what else do you watch? Puh-lease...give me a break...i love you roland....xoxo....

    July 17, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. MMN-Milwaukee WI

    Roland, I have to very strongly disagree with you on this one.

    For starters my wife is an early childhood teacher in public schools that have lost millions of dollars to charter schools that get all the vouchers. The irony of it all is, those charter/private schools that take funds from public schools are not accountable to anyone leave alone the government. Worst of all the children who leave public schools with vouchers in their hands show up a semester/year later voucher gone and worse of than they were before they left and the public school is subjected to closure because of the flawed “no child left behind” dubya gave us.

    July 17, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. Bond_Dallas

    Rolland is wrong on this one. Giving vouchers is not the way. Instead, the quality of this schools should be improved from dead-end to progressive. What happens to the teachers and other students left behind, if only some of the students are given vouchers. The voucher system is bogus and only encourages school districts not to work towards improving their schools.

    I love your commentary Martin, but you are wron on this one. Just my opinion.

    July 17, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. Terry, Butte, Mt

    No, Obama is right and McCain is wrong...

    School vouchers take money out of the public school system while padding the pockets of private shcools that has their own curriculum and not held to standards of eductation set by school boards.

    The biggest problem is that it takes much needed money from the public education system. The problem with our schools are that they are underfunded and 'no child left behind.' Vouchers and the way 'no child left behind' both take desparately needed money from the poorest of public shools.

    Obama is right... Invest in public education, not destroy it.

    July 17, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Ratgurl

    This article has no argument. Mr. Martin is basically spewing his opinion, which I respectfully disagree with.

    Vouchers will not encourage teachers to perform better, and that in itself will cause more problems.

    My belief is that the system needs to be fixed, education needs to be standardized, and those in charge need to be held accountable for their failures. We've ignored the problem long enough. It's time for a solution.

    July 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. Chris

    Of course Mccain is right. Mccain is right on a lot of things.....and all people would see that if you don't have your partisan hat on so tight that it restricts the blood flow to your brain. Appears that Martin took his tight liberal hat off long enough to be conscious of this voucher proposal Mccain made.

    July 17, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. MATTER OF OPINION !!!!

    MATTER OF OPINION !!!! July 17th, 2008 2:20 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Sen. John McCain, the GOP nominee, says vouchers are the right way to go to give parents an option for a better education, while Sen. Barack Obama says the GOP has talked and talked about vouchers, and it hasn't amounted to much more…….I disagree. Private school education has become so expensive that even with vouchers most parents wouldn't be able to afford it. Meanwhile, de-emphasising public education is just going to cause people to lose interest in the system and cause it to go down further.ROLAND WHO IN THE are you to SAY who is RIGHT OR WRONG ……THE PUBLIC schools just need improvement,better pay for the teachers and hold parents responsible for their CHILDREN performance and behavior in the Public Schoo
    CNN plz POST 2nd TRY!!!

    July 17, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. shannon

    This isn't some communist country where every child has to get the same crappy education. Vouchers allow kids to get out of schools that would take years to fix and allow them to get an education now.

    Basically, liberals are saying, "screw the kids stuck in bad schools".

    Don't liberals want poor kids to have a chance too?

    July 17, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Willow, from Iowa

    The problem with vouchers is the fact that a small child will have to be bused or driven for a long drive to go to a different school in a different district. The problem is ALL schools, even inner city, even small rural districts, need to have the money invested, the teachers invested and not have to have every child bring in a box of Kleenex because they can't afford it on the school budget. They use old books, their teachers are unable to teach, they allow crime, nobody gets expelled or suspended for more than a day. And drugs are freely available, and the drug salesman knows he can get away with it. ALL schools should be safe and free from crime and have decent teachers. Teachers pay should increase, school budgets should increase, and people could be proud of their school, which would be safe, even if in an inner city or rural town. It isn't the AREA that the school is in that is the problem, its the lack of funding, and lack of allowing teachers to teach instead of discipline.

    July 17, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. Phantom of the Oprah

    Blame the media for creating a Teflon shield around Obama. Now we are all stuck with this unqualified and undesirable nominee.

    July 17, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. aware

    Right Roland! :)

    Give our kids the best possible chance! The school system has been destroyed by a multicultural ideology that not only dumbs down the system but pushes self-esteem and an anti-white, anti-American pro any other culture rewriting of history that especially ensures the failure of the very kids it pretends to be helping.

    The English language is the glue that holds America together. Many kids in our public schools can't read, write or speak English properly. And, at the same time bilingualism is being encouraged! :(

    July 17, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  22. Phantom of the Oprah

    At least McCain is humble- so is Cindy.

    Obama is a cocky, arrogant, underqualified, boastful person just like George Bush.

    I did not vote for Bush... I will not vote for the haughty, perfect in his own eyes, Obama.

    July 17, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  23. Matthew

    John McCain has been a leader for years.

    Obama wants to learn how to be one at America's expense.

    The smart choice, and obvious choice is McCain!

    July 17, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. Phantom of the Oprah

    How come Michelle was allowed to be nasty and vicious against Hillary... but then she herself wants to be spared from any scrutiny no matter how fair it is?

    July 17, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. tony

    Hey John from Houston-
    You are right about 1 thing there are thugs in inner city schools -so if I can get my kid out to a safer and better envionment-I will absolutely take that-
    WE have prisons for thugs - our children should not be subject to the fighting, drugs and the like that they bring out-
    Maybe that's a good use of a graffitti laden school–
    Use it as a reform school–

    If you don't like that then you pay what it will cost to fix it right -so the thugs as you call them can ruin it again–

    July 17, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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