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. Andrew

    joann – Yeah, I know what you're saying! Its kinda like how it bothers me how most of Hillary Clinton and McCain's supporters are WHITE! Give it up....people of all races and creeds support Obama. He may not be ideal for EVERYONE, but between him and McCain its Obama all the way for 90% of Americans. Sure he gets a big part of the black vote, just like Hillary got a big part of the female vote....why not show black advisors? Finally they have another big role model, going for the highest office in the world...should they not be proud and aspire to that?

    July 16, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  2. The Oracle

    Lol. Joann, the good thing is you don't have to deal with this. Do what you've been doing for the last 8 yrs or so, and bury your head in the sand.

    July 16, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. TSAH

    TO ALECO1 -


    ALSO – McSAME and NAACP – it's too late!! That's why only 5% of African Americans voted "favorable" for you.

    July 16, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  4. christina

    Uh-oh! This old geezer is losing his mind. Please inform him that the NAACP is full of blacks!!! Although he should remember since he was present when W.E.B. DuBois was director back in 1909!!!

    Blacks, whites, yellows, and purples for OBAMA '08!!!

    July 16, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. Dale, NY

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Bush call for education reform within the black community. Even appointing a black education secretary, who did NOTHING by the way.

    I remember my family laughing because whenever you mentioned blacks to Bush he would wound up like a puppet and say "edjacation, edjacation, edjacation". Seems to me he should have learned how to pronounce the word first. Secondly, blacks are interested in more than just education, like the economy, the war, jobs, and small businesses. But we understood GW because he was raised by Babs, who said the following about the Katrina evacuees:
    "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway," she said, "so this is working very well for them."
    By the way, people died while waiting for help.

    So nothing has changed with the RNC. McSame doesn't know what to say to black people.

    Give it up John, Barack has 92% of the black vote. Don't waste your time–we don't trust you.

    July 16, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. matt

    CNN has no balls to provide balanced unbiased coverage. People owe it themselves and their country not to let themselves be brainwashed by some news outlets agenda.

    July 16, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. Robert

    At least McCain is being honest with the audience, and doesnt PANDER to every crowd like Obama does. I dont like either candidate, but I think Obama is not honest and genuine with how he would deal with issues. He just inflates people's dreams with empty rhetoric. Plus he has no leadership experience. NONE. I will grudgingly vote for McCain...better of 2 evils.

    July 16, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  8. Vote McCain

    McCain could pick up some of the black vote if they are still Hillary supporters and if they feel Obama has lost sight of their interest as well. I think th African American community is starting to realize that the Democratic party has been taking advantage of their support.

    July 16, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Joe

    He has to educate himself first, like learning the internet (it's the same as learning how to write), and secondly realizing that Czechoslovakia does NOT exist.

    July 16, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. Shelby

    Oh please McCain, you voted against the MLK holiday several times, you always vote against raising minium wage and all of a sudden you care about the schools in the black community? We're not buying it.

    July 16, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Brad - California

    Pander, pander, pander. John McCain is not just a f*&%$#! idiot, he is an old and out-of touch idiot who deserves absolutely nothing except his wife's money and it's questionable whether he even deserves that.

    Every time I hear this jerk address a croud and use the words "my friends" – I chuckle a little bit to myself. He certainly is not my friend, and this NAFTA hero is certainly no friend to black, white, Asian or Hispanic Americans.

    July 16, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  12. Frank

    Maybe after he gets through telling the NAACP how big a mistake it would be for blacks to vote for Obama, he can visit Czechoslovakia and explain how the Sunni and Shia have no history of violent conflict.

    The butter is slipping off this guy's noodles.

    July 16, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. S. Boatman Warrensburg Mo.

    You Need To Reform Your Own Education Mccain! Maybe You Can Learn About The Economy Or Diplomacy Or How To Put The American Citizen First! Or Perhaps You Could Just Learn How To Remember Things! That Would Be A Good Start!

    July 16, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  14. Dem 4 Obama, PA

    McCain has got to be kidding! The NAACP? When he just realized the importance of the contributions of MLK last summer??????

    July 16, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  15. worried

    Education is the least of this country's problems.

    July 16, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  16. michelle

    What does he really care? His wife spends $750.000 in one month, she has a new outfit on when ever you see her....their children all go and went to private schools. He does not care about blacks or any other minority race, why? because they are a threat to the elite rich white people.........he cares!!!....he cares about making him and Cindy richer...............PERIOD

    July 16, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  17. voter

    what a joke. McCain has voted aganist any bill that provided early childhood education, more funds for the public school system and after school programs. He has been for vochers for private education for years. Second, he has never been concern about the problems specifically education that is affecting the inner city. Now he is seeking votes and cares. Maybe he should return to school and learn his geography and realize that czekosovokia is no longer a country.

    July 16, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  18. ANGIE

    mccain what are you going to do pander and lie to them too for their votes mccain you should really retire now we are looking to move this country forward in a positive way not be stuck with the same of the last 7 years and you my friend will bring just that if not worst obama 08

    July 16, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  19. Tunnie

    Iagree with Ms. RDS when speaking to the people you (John McCain) have voted against so many times in your career tell them why you won't end the war and put some of those dollars toward education. McCain has stated that education in the black communities is so bad. McCain is such a peice of work. The NAACP should booooo him off the stage!

    July 16, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  20. Eric

    interesting picture....he looks nervous....another uncomfortable moment perhaps?

    July 16, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  21. Carl in MI

    Education reform? Because NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND is stoopid and not working right? Dubya will be glad to hear that one.

    July 16, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. Joe the Troll

    Didn't the Republicans already give us education reform? Does McCain want to focus on political geography, perhaps?

    July 16, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  23. Eric in Ca

    I applaud Sen, McCain for speaking to the NAACP, but unfortunately what can he possibly say... for 20+ years in Washington he has not had the interests of African-Americans.
    This is why many CNN posters don't realize that when you bash one group (African-Americans, Hispanics, etc) with hateful and bigoted divisive comments why would a voting bloc like these ever support McCain or the GOP?!
    When you advocate policies that amount to a 3rd term of Bush, why should we give you our vote?
    Finally, the reason Obama has the African-American vote, isn't just because of race or racial pride for his candidacy but HISTORICALLY – African-Americans generally vote for democrats – PERIOD!

    July 16, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  24. Joe Regis

    Their is not GOP policies or strategies to address issues that the NAACP are concerned about.

    The repubs comes around when they need the votes. I do not see how that is going to build trust and earn votes.

    Go Obama go.

    Obama 08 & 12.

    July 16, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. Tommy

    McTotallyOutof Touch!!!

    July 16, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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