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. P. Morrison

    I long for the day the HRC supporters finally accept the fact that she lost-period. The Obama bashing is getting very, very old. The most disgusting thing is none of them will admit they just can't tolerate having a black man as president. It has nothing to do with policies, and most likely, not even with religion. If you're a racist-at least have the honesty to admit it! I hope some of the things that have come out in the last few days will show Dems. for McCain what a terrible injustice they are doing, not only to HRC, but for the remainder of our country.

    It appears the Bush Adm. & McCain are playing "follow the leader" with respect to Obamas' plan for both Iraq & Afghanistan, as well as using diplomacy with "rogue" nations. Maybe they are realizing it's better than going in "guns a'blazing". It's about time!!

    White Grandmother for OBAMA/BIDEN 08-12

    July 16, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. jay

    bulldog, you are the man! secondly, this man does not, i repeat, does not care for any minorities...at all which consequently negates this as news.

    July 16, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. Florida for Barack

    What reform can he honestly talk about when he can't even send an e-mail. Come on, today's childen demand answers from someone who knows. Does he understand anything about the space program, or the banking system – or are we going to go back to the line where he was a prisioner of war

    July 16, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. Jackie from Minneapolis

    I can't imagine that they will believe what he is saying at all. He has never cared about black people before, so why bother now. I hope they don't fall his tactics and lies.

    July 16, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  5. ShayFad

    Honestly McPain why even try, so you can improve the 1% that's voting for you to 2%?
    That's hilarious. I actually want to meet the 2 blacks voting for him and ask exactly why.
    Yes, some black are voting for OBAMA simply b/c he's black. I think that goes for all races, some people voted for Hillary cause she was white and a woman. I think it's more b/c: of all the voting blocs we have in this country, Blacks especially understand how tough life has been during the past 8 years, and they know what's at stake. If Hallary was the nominee, I believe we would see similar numbers.
    also, McCain barely has 1% or less of the black population b/c of his decades-old stand against everything black. This guy even voted against a MLK holiday.
    I understand people change, but 4 months before the election is way too late to try to express your new views now, it called pandering.
    But I'm pretty sure he knows this and it must be devastating for him to stand there and know he's just waisting his time.

    July 16, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  6. Concerned Citizen of America 2008

    Ah, I was wondering when Sen McCain was going to get around to school vouchers. Sounds like more " W " to me..

    July 16, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  7. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    And enough of the Creationism crap, unless you want our science students to be a laughing stock to the rest of the world...

    July 16, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Steve, Chelsea, MI

    "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."

    Joann, you're not even a very convincing fake-PUMA member, you watch Bill O'Reilly.

    July 16, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  9. Veteran for McCain


    You sound like an old country song! Why do we have to have a Black Voter's Council or a _________ (fill in minority) Voter's Agenda? Aren't we all American's (unless your here illegally)? Don't we all want the same thing? Better education, safe place to live, lower taxes, less gov't, clean environment, reasonable healthcare, etc...? Why should it matter if your black, brown, red, white, yellow, etc...? Are your "wants" more important?

    July 16, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  10. v.a.

    let's please get this man in front of 3 giant teleprompters again so he can repeat the last word of each sentence as he rotates from screen to screen. PLEASE!! that was by far his most entertaining stump!

    July 16, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Ryan

    John McCain never attended a public school, or had to pay a dime of student loans. HOW CAN HE RELATE? He want to a Private Preparatory Boarding School, and then on the the Naval Academy.

    How do vouchers create better schools? They DON'T, it doesn't do anything to improve education. I feel like he's oblivious, completely oblivious to REAL non-military Americans.

    July 16, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. dormar206

    Where have he been ? he know he don t like blacks and he is not sensitive poor people issures

    July 16, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. Michael Lorton, Virginia

    It is the same old political rheortic being pandering and another aim of practical politicis to keep the populace alarmed by a series of hobglobins.

    July 16, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. proud army and navy mom

    mcbush talks about new ideas? he has no new idea. he's just saying stuff that he thinks people want to hear and then he will say that he never said that in the first place.

    Is Mccain forgetful or just a plain liar? You make the call!

    July 16, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. Cynthia

    Can't wait to hear this speech.

    July 16, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. Michelle

    The media bias for Obama is unprofessional and disgusting.

    July 16, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  17. President McCain

    Why are all the bloggers Obama supporters?

    July 16, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. Shasta

    He's never cared before. Why don't any of these senators do the things they say they will while they're in the senate and can actually WRITE legislation?

    July 16, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. Donna

    well if people know it's the media then why hate Obama? he doesn't work at CNN, FOX, etc..he doesn't tell them what to report...why don't you write them and ask why they only have 2 black analysts? If you know that Obama is flip-flopping why does the media need to tell you again? I have seen SEVERAL reports that showed Obama changing positions or clarifying things...same as they do with McCain...they show the gaffes of everyone...unless you are glued to your tv 24/7 watching the news, then you wouldn't be expected to see that...sounds like your anger towards Obama is misplaced....

    Back to McCain..I think it's great that he is going to the convention to try and show that the Republicans do care about black voters...however, it won't work...years of ignoring and creating policies that are not helpful have left a BITTER taste in the mouths of many and his one speech (with his trademark un-enthusiatic delivery to boot) won't undo that damage...

    July 16, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  20. Nicole

    I am not a supporter of McCain but I couldn't agree with him more on this topic. Our public school system is a complete joke especially in our inner cities and please don't let me get started on the No Child Left Behind garbage. I am a firm believer that until you invest in our education system you will continue to see the rise of crime especially in our inner cities. How do you expect a kid to believe in themselves when they go to a school with textbooks older than McCain.

    By the way, I still plan to vote for Obama because I know McCain don't mean one word of this speech that was prepared for him.

    July 16, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr

    I would rather vote George Bush for a Third Term instead of voting John McShame.........because they are two sides of a coin. One side of the coin called Bush sound dumb; saying the economy is just experiencing a "temporary glitch"; while the other side, McBush sound totally clueless, saying we are having a "mental recession" and americans are a "bunch of whiners"!


    July 16, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  22. mary

    Mcain has been out if touch all of his life .now that he is running for president of the US ,he finally think that he is in touch with the people that he has ignored ,never tried to understand,never adressed or cared about the issues of their concerns.I think it,s a little to late for all the fuss now.

    July 16, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  23. Dave

    If it wasn't for potential war with Iran, he'd have my vote. McCain is just more honest than Obama and more of a man. And I'm African American.

    July 16, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. anonymous

    The NAACP is a worthless, rebel-rousing organization. Talk about racism in the highest form!!! I'm so sick of people holding their hands out expecting someone else to fill it with the "you owe me" attitude! Get your worthless, lazy bums up and work just like the people you expect to support you do!

    July 16, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  25. Biff Biffington

    If he pulls out the ever-tired "school vouchers" I'm going to scream.....

    July 16, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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