July 16th, 2008
09:31 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain to call for education reform in front of NAACP

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/16/art.mccain.7.16.jpg caption="McCain will push for more educational opportunities Wednesday."]
(CNN) - John McCain is expected to tell the NAACP today that he wants to help students in failing schools by giving them more educational opportunities.

According to excerpts of McCain’s speech this morning in Cincinnati to the NAACP annual national convention, McCain will say it’s time for a new approach to help fix America’s schools.

Related: McCain looks to make gains among black voters

“Nowhere are the limitations of conventional thinking any more apparent than in education policy. Education reform has long been a priority of the NAACP, and for good reason. For all the best efforts of teachers and administrators, the worst problems of our public school system are often found in black communities. Black and Latino students are among the most likely to drop out of high school. African Americans are also among the least likely to go on to college,” McCain says in the excerpts.

“After decades of hearing the same big promises from the public education establishment, and seeing the same poor results, it is surely time to shake off old ways and to demand new reforms. That isn't just my opinion; it is the conviction of parents in poor neighborhoods across this nation who want better lives for their children,” adds the Republican’s presumptive presidential nominee.

Giving parents more of a choice in where their children attend school is one of McCain’s staples on the campaign trail and it’s a theme he’ll repeat today, saying that, “ Parents ask only for schools that are safe, teachers who are competent, and diplomas that open doors of opportunity. When a public system fails, repeatedly, to meet these minimal objectives, parents ask only for a choice in the education of their children. Some parents may choose a better public school. Some may choose a private school. Many will choose a charter school. No entrenched bureaucracy or union should deny parents that choice and children that opportunity. If I am elected president, school choice for all who want it, an expansion of Opportunity Scholarships, and alternative certification for teachers will all be part of a serious agenda of education reform.”

The senator from Arizona is a firm believer in holding schools and teachers accountable for results and rewarding superior teachers and weeding out incompetent ones. He’s also a supporter of charter schools, all issues that often put him at odds with the national teachers unions.

McCain did not speak in front of last year’s NAACP convention, and according to the excerpts, he’ll speak about that today, saying, “This is your second invitation to me during my presidential campaign, and I hope you'll excuse me for passing on the opportunity at your convention last year. As you might recall, I was a bit distracted at the time dealing with what reporters uncharitably described as an implosion in my campaign.”

McCain’s campaign nearly collapsed last summer before rebounding in the fall and winter. He ultimately locked up the Republican presidential nomination in March.

But McCain faces long odds in winning the black vote. His opponent, Barack Obama, is the first African American to head a major party ticket. Nine in ten black voters support the Illinois senator in a new CBS/New York Times poll, with only two percent backing McCain.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (176 Responses)
  1. sarah T

    Can't wait till Nov. 4...
    no more MC-COPY-CAT-BUSH

    July 16, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. Bulldog

    You go McCain. You are a very brave man to knowingly go in front of a group of people you have not supported for the last 20+ years. You are brave to be able to go up there and lie straight to their faces.

    July 16, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  3. georgia

    Please be sure he's had his ginko biloba before so he recalls his script ! Obama 08 !!!!!!!! Obama 08 !!!!!!!!

    July 16, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  4. Abby

    yeah right. In all your "years of experience" you never cared. Even voted not to make MLK day a holiday. now you change your tune...we call that pandering ..Not this time.

    July 16, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  5. Code Blue

    Where was McCain when they had the Black Value Voter's Debate? I think McCain should work on his own education!

    July 16, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  6. joann

    It's amazing how they keeps coming up with Hillary's and Mccain's Gaffs but Obama walks on water. The media is partly the reason some people hate Obama; they are so "prejudice" towards any other candidate. They still won't admit he's not the person he said he was; he's flip flopped all over his issues and doesn't stand for change. I have never seen televison used in this way to distort a candidate they way they do for Obama; all of their guest anylists are for Obama, most of them are always black; even O'Reilly last night brought up Obama but had 2 black anylasys – what does he think they are going to say? They always support him no matter what. I can't do this! Where in the world is Hillary Clinton.

    July 16, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. Ms. RDS

    How about diverting some of the money we're spending in Iraq to our countries schools. And maybe next year the kiddies can actually have books that aren't the same ones their parents used when they were in school.

    July 16, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |


    July 16, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. Obama Supporter from FL

    There is a problem with just offering choice – if you are a poor working family, you don't necessarily have the time or money to drive your kids halfway across town, and bussing to a different school isn't always available. I would like to know what McCain plans to do for kids' transportation needs...

    July 16, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. Rational thoughts

    Like him or not, you have to admit that speaking as a Republican in front of the NAACP takes a lot of courage.

    July 16, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. blaising

    He is a BOOB!

    What a pathetic Liar!

    McCain CANNOT be trusted! You've been warned people!!

    July 16, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  12. Bob

    Why does CNN tell us what Mccain is about to say instead of reporting the news?
    Please educate me........

    July 16, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. IQ

    Lead by example McCain learn to use a computer. How can a backward person speak to the importance of education.

    July 16, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. Kelby from Houston, TX

    John McCain going in front of the NAACP pandering for black votes. This is the same guy who was too weak to stand up in his state for Martin Luther King Jr.

    July 16, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Sue

    My God how this old bag of wind shifts with it! He is nothing but a pandering old fool, who does not have an original idea in his head – a definite Bush clone – letting others lead him by the nose. The Maverick is long gone, now there is only the same old Republicanisms coming from the great Warmonger!

    July 16, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. Chad, Wisco

    Sorry, but the government will reduce access for seniors. Ask most seniors, MA is better for them. I love that everyone complains and thinks the government is completely inept, but yet we want them to manage our health care? MA programs offer more complete coverage then traditional Medicare, do some fact checking. I worked closely with several seniors and this reduction could actually cause them to pay more for their drugs.

    Considering you only posted pro-Obama posts in the Medicare article maybe I can get this posted here. Oh wait, you dont care about facts CNN.

    July 16, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. MurphyMorseJohnson

    John McCain says he has a plan to help poor students. The insincerity of his statement is only outmatched by his failure to provide results in the past. Bush, Cheney and he have caused America's hard earned trillions to go elsewhere. Meanwhile, for the needy, people on Medicare, and school children, these Republicans have left the infrastructure's cupboard almost bare.

    July 16, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  18. The Truth

    Don't waste your breath trying to get the black vote. Historically there are roughly 10% of the Uncle Tom's who still have the slave mentality that will vote Repub.
    The rest of us will back Barack without thinking twice.

    July 16, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  19. Bill From Florida

    How can you get good teachers in the black scools when they are afraid of violence?? I feel that anyone that truly wants to learn and better themselves will. There are so many black people that came from the getto that wanted to better their lives, they went to school,
    studied and many came from broken homes with no parential
    guidenence, but they still made something of their lives. The problem
    is that 85% of blacks find it easier to sell drugs, commit crimes and
    steal and rob, that is why are prisons are 87% filled with African Americans. Obama didn't come from the getto and didn't have a hard life, but look at what he has accomplished. I will not vote for Obama,
    but I respect what he has become as a black man. Anyone can cop out, black or white.People have to want better lives for themselves.

    July 16, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  20. bob

    This guy need a Huge pension and some pat at his back. Go retire Mcbush! You are 70+!

    July 16, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  21. Jozee

    Every four years the Repubs trot out their nominee and they make a weak attempt at pretending to care about the issues that face African Americans. They use cute little buzz words like "education" and "jobs" and scare you with the threats about same sex marriage or abortion.
    But once the election is over, they go back to their same old lame politics and forget about the promises made. Just like they did 4 years ago.

    No thank you, Sen. McCain. This country has had enough of the way the Republicans do business. It's time for a change! George W. Bush won't be on the ballot in the fall, and we will reject a third term in John McCain.

    GO OBAMA 08/12

    July 16, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  22. Karen

    More double speak!! McSame, he who refused approval to make MLK day a public holday, he, who in bragging his decades of "service" did not see fit to even raise the issue of education for minorities, ONLY NOW pledges to fight for this issue?? Truly, give me a break!! McSame now would say ANYTHING to try and hoodwink all of us. If he had been so ardent about all the "rights" of immigrants and minorities, he should have started down this path to fight for them decades ago, and not just because he is running for president now. More lies coming from this old man who thinks that we are all in a "mental" recession.

    July 16, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  23. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Yeah, teach those kids some history and geography, so they can tell Shia from Sunni and the fact that Czechoslovakia no longer exists without getting the answers from little Joey Lieberman...

    July 16, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  24. larry buchas

    Yes, even McCain needs reform. Learn how to use a computer, John. Or are you still stuck in the 13th century with Bush?

    July 16, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  25. Nick

    I can't remember the last time a republican spoke before the NAACP. Koodos to McCain for that.

    July 16, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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