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. Independent Voter

    Most of the problems of the black "community," whatever that is, are of their own making. We haven't had slave owners around for 143 years!!

    I'm tired of the Jacksons, the Old Guard, and the Obamas, the New Guard.

    Four years of tiptoeing around because we'd rather die than endure the usual "racist" accusations is too much for this voter.

    Every candidate apparently has to pay homage to the "victims" before they can get on with campaigning. Nothing new here.

    Being a victim is a way of life apparently and quite lucrative for the biggest "victims," that is, the ones with the talent to talk endlessly about opportunity and responsibility while doing nothing.

    I don't much care who wins, McCain, Nader, whoever. Just get these self serving race baiters off center stage.

    As the saying goes, "Get a job." "Oh, but that would require me to go to school, to be responsible, to quit fathering random children with random women." Too hard. Doesn't pay nearly as well as what I'm doing now."

    Get over yourselves.

    July 16, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. Tony

    Here we go witih McCain pandering to the black community.

    Sad, but most will buy into what he says. Why, oh why, can't people think for themselves?

    July 16, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  3. Serviceman


    When stateing flip flopping, give examples of FACT not what you have read on post. Don't just say flip flop because thats the hot thing now. You show you have no new thoughts just puppet post!

    Remember your vote will not just destroy your life but your childrens to, think smart, get educated on issues and vote smart!

    Obama 08

    July 16, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  4. Paul

    McCain has plenty of promises but little hard results. Literally hundreds of politicians have promised to improve education but we still wind up with poorly educated children.
    The way to improve education is not throwing more money at our overpriced system but improving the students. Too often the students are not motivated and will not put forth the effort to learn. They see no benefit and just want to get on the street to get some quick money for blings.

    July 16, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  5. Mike

    The Republicans have had eight years to turn the education system around. They have failed. Your time is up!

    July 16, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. jay/ohio/rep/obama supporter

    i guess mcbush need to start educate himself first he s qualified to run comedian show not a country send mcbush and elect him to be the president of venus.
    mccain for venus
    obama for president of USA

    July 16, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  7. Danielle, TX

    Joann, Honey do you live on Mars? I see analysts of all races commentating on this election. Also, if anyone has gotten away with not having his gaffes reported, that would be McCain. If Obama made half the mistakes McCain has made, he'd probably be forced out of the race by now. By the way, Hillary is not the nominee, so please get over it. If she were the nominee, I would have voted for her, but she isn't so, please MOVE ON.

    July 16, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  8. katiec

    People, McCain is running for president. And because of
    that he is going to pander, lie, distor , anything he can do
    to try and get votes.
    We are smarter than that and it will show in Nov. Anyone
    who votes for McCain and extension of the diasterous
    Bush/McCain policies is not putting the future of our
    country first. Cannot understand those who put a
    political party, prejudice, and lack of facts before saving
    our United States of America.

    July 16, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  9. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    Joann – I seriously question the mental stability of anyone who uses Bill O'Reilly as refernce to prove a point!!! CNN and MSNBC have been very open and critical of Barack to the point where a number of Obama supporters have accused them of being pro-Hillary and doing her attack work for her. And both networks have used African-American. Hispanic, and White analysts to make their points.

    July 16, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. PG


    July 16, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  11. Justin -NC

    He's the guy that voted against Martin Luther King Jr. Day and then has the gull to show up at the NAACP meeting! Ha!!

    More Straight Talk Express:

    "You know, Mr. King had a dream, but so do I every night! He doesn't deserve a holiday for dreamin, so to that I say NO YOU CAN'T"

    Meanwhile, in Czechoslovakia...

    OBAMA/EDWARDS '08-'12

    July 16, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. pat C.

    to joan.......hillary lost! don't you remember?

    July 16, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  13. republican girl for Obama

    Dear Joann, actually I saw this election was one of constant attacks on Obama, much ado about every little thing. Yet I saw both Hillary and now Mccain have real problems that were never talked about in the media. I want a smart president this time and mccain is not the way. You asked where Hillary is.... not sure but she did give a few speeches saying SHE is endorsing Obama and She also asked for other democrats to do the same. So what she was fighting for.... will still be addressed.
    Mccain is four years more of destructive policies. This time is not the time for sticking our heads in the sands of denile

    July 16, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. Rick FL

    McCain says, "...it's surely time to shake off old ways and demand new reforms." Does this timing pertain to why he may have skipped the debate at Morgan State University & the last NAACP convention, and now, he attends this convention in time for the general? Hmm...

    July 16, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  15. DflateMacsStr8TalkXpress: Econ MIA, AWOL on facts, POW from reality

    Yes, Grampy, it surely is time to shake off old ways and to demand new reforms, and the best way to do that is to make sure you don't get elected.

    July 16, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. Von Bismark Vienna

    This is outrageous elitist audacity.He is really out of touch.

    July 16, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  17. Phil, FL

    Ignore anything McCain says. His writers tell him what to read and then he forgets it.

    The man has been in Washington long enough to have made a difference, and I just don't see anything positive that he accomplished.

    Being locked away from civilization for more than 5 years does not qualify him for POTUS.

    My goodness – even Bush, at 62, said he forgets – imagine at 72 (McCain's age).

    NO to McCain.

    July 16, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. Derrick in Houston

    McSame has never cared about women or African Americans. So whats his purpose by speaking infront of the NAACP?

    I bet you he will praises Obama though lol

    July 16, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. Onedayatatime

    We are able to voice our opinions in these forums precisely because we are Americans in the Great USA. The priveleges we enjoy were guaranteed us by our Constitution, and are available in their entirety nowhere else. Instead of respecting our privileges we have misused them and continue to cling to stereotypical and unfounded prejudices and hatreds. It will matter little who our next President is, if we do not start acting like true Americans....holding our political servants accountable for their decisions and actions on our behalf.

    July 16, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. Obama-Junkie, IL

    McCain has to show up for the NAACP meeting. If not, the liberal media would blast him for not showing up. But it won't make much of a difference in getting support from the black community. Obama will still get 97% to 99% of the black vote for a number of reasons. Obama is part African himself. He has been engaged in the issues important to the black community early on in his campaign. Also Obama has engaged the youth in the black community (in general all youths 18 – 24 years of age ) in getting involved in the political process.

    July 16, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  21. Rave

    McPain should be the last person talking about education... All he know's in Geography is Iran and Iraq... if asked to point them on a world map, he may not be able to do so.
    For English, he learnt the words – War & Lobbying
    His Intel is such that he does not know the difference between a Sunni and Al Queda.
    1 more term with McPain, we may have to start looking for jobs in China and Russia...Unbelievable, how people keep aside their real problems and flock around this FAKE guy. Only primary problem with Mr. Obama for most Americans is his race...
    This is like a test that God has given us and if you cant swallow the fact that a black man will be president of America... needless to say where we will end up in next 4 years.
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    July 16, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. Votes

    Vote for who you think will do the best job. Do not vote for the black man or the white man because of there color. This country needs unity among all. Comments about Bush and anyone else are unfounded. Keep to the subject matter.

    July 16, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. Lisa

    The only thing Mccain can do to win over my vote is to bring or troops home today not in 100 years. The only way I'll vote for Obama is if Hillary's on the ticket. If these two clowns can't do either I'll vote for that other lady Cynthia Mckinney, at least she wants to bring out troops home. I hope she's just saying that to get votes like Obama.

    July 16, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  24. cherrystrawberry

    Yea. I'm going to vote 4 you cause you spoke in front of the NAACP,

    Your delusional MCneedsaCANE.

    July 16, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  25. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    I get very upset when I see commentators and newscasters talk about the Black vote like it is some monolithic being. Barack did not just automatically gain the votes of African-Americans, he has had to work for it. Hillary had the majority of support amongst African-Americans until she lost it via Bill and herself. McCain has a poor voting record when it comes to issues that most African-Americans support. Even within his home state, he has consistently failed to garner significant support. As such, to think that one or two speeches pandering to Blacks will make any major difference is false hopes at best.

    Most Amercicans are very pragmatic and are looking to the candidate that they believe will do the most good for themselves and their families. Looking at all of the current candidates, including some of the smaller party ones, I do not see anyone aside from Barack that will most benefit myself, my community, and my country. The fact that he is also Black is just icing on the cake.

    July 16, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
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