July 5th, 2007
01:14 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama slams Bush's 'No Child Left Behind'

Obama spoke at the National Education Association in Philadelphia on Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Illinois Sen. Barack Obama slammed President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" policy in a speech to the National Education Association in Philadelphia on Thursday, calling it "one of the emptiest slogans in the history of politics."

"For too long, our politics has been stuck in a cycle where we praise our educators in speeches and photo-ops, but then abandon them when it comes time to offer the resources and the support you need to do your jobs," Obama said in prepared remarks.

The Democratic presidential candidate said that, over the next few weeks, he will unveil his plan to reform the country's education system. He promised to increase teachers' wages and further compensate those that mentor children and teach tough subjects like science or math.

"In the face of a global economy where too many children start behind and stay behind, this country doesn’t need more blame or inaction or half-measures on education," Obama said. "What we need is a historic commitment to America’s teachers, and that’s the kind of commitment I intend to make as President."

- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. W. Orr

    John Edwards already has mentioned this
    in many of his talks with the public, where was Obama, listening in, he's a Senator, he should bring it up in the
    Senate. Obama the no substance candidate with phony media buzz, the public believe.

    July 5, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Chris, UK

    It seems we have a John Edwards Supporter. Lets just be sensible and accept that these are Democratic candidates and that's a good step at least!

    July 5, 2007 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. Ann Brunswick ME

    Don't cut your nose off to spite your face, Obama. Grow up here, who are you listening to? They are giving you dumb dope, you are hurting yourself badly with these type remarks. Get another advisor, okay? You're a great guy with plenty of promise, but no-one gets ahead trampling on someone else, you know. Talk about your plans for America. Separate yourself from the other garbage mouths, talk positive, give hope and a vision for the future. Don't stoop to a sniper's level, Obama, come out from among them and walk alone on this one. Hillary wants you to say things for her that she knows would damn her if she said them herself, don't fall for that bait. Your smarter than that man.

    July 5, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  4. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Obama is immitator, 'no child left behind' was brought three decades ago, recently Edwards said too. I think Obama's staff watch TV, read published books, other's Healthcare and watch other candidate's speech then refers them as his own. Obama likes new and fresh but his ideas are old songs too. Don't say too much, you will fall in a trap set by yourself. Bush is at the bottom of the ground, but you are not even qualified to judge Bush yet.

    July 6, 2007 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  5. Ann Brunswick ME

    Where's my comment from 07-05-07 CNN? You must pick only the comments you agree with to appear on your site. Do you handle your many "polls" the same way? No wonder they do not reflect true America.

    July 6, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  6. Notbynit

    Great speech and photo-op..

    July 6, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. James, Atlanta GA

    He is way off base about this. I work in Education, and every day I see individuals who are being forced to actually get qualified to teach the subjects that they have been teaching for years because of No Child Left Behind. And, if this is such an empty slogan, why are reading, math, and science test scores across the country on the rise. People point that teachers are just teaching-the-test, but no other way has been put forward to evaluate their performance. And, why are we not critical on the teachers for handling standardize testing in such a way. Those tests are built to test information that comes directly out of the state approved curriculums. Students should be learning that information in their daily lessons. If teachers are giving drills day-after-day, they are the ones failing our children by trying to cheat their way out of allowing administrators to accurately gauge their performance. NCLB true impact is taking time to flesh-out because of how large the bureaucracies are in education. And, why am I not surprised that he is making this speech in front of rep. for teacher's unions. For the first time, NCLB has given state and local officials the incentive to actually account for teacher quality and hold teachers accountable for their performance. Wonder-wonder why teachers unions, which strong-arm school administrators on who they can-and-cannot fire, are so critical. Maybe those critics should go to New York City and meet all of the teachers that have been picking up pay-checks for years without setting foot in a classroom because school districts are unable to fire them. Every dollar spent on them is a dollar not being spent on materials to educate NYC students.

    Instead of being a critic, Obama should tell us how he will make things different. Pandering to teachers unions and throwing more money at education, when we spend more money per-student than any nation in the industrialized world, is not going to solve the problem. Of course, it is hard to put that in a speech when you are trying to win votes.

    July 6, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. Carl, Dallas, TX

    child obesity is a much bigger issue (no pun intended) than tests every year. To solve that problem, simply have a test at the end of junior high and high school that is both national and state recognized. Next, implement one hour of physical education. Who cares that we are only slightly improving education when HALF of kids under 18 are fat or obese by medical standards.... makes you sick...

    July 6, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Sara, TX

    How many of you are teachers?

    Who cares if another candidate feels the same way. They are both democrats. The "No Child Left Behind" policy is ridiculous and people need to know. There are lots of issues that are important but this is one of them.

    July 15, 2007 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  10. ericka pams

    i think tha t what i read was amazing i understand the things that he is trying to say this was very intresting

    January 29, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |