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. smile

    not a person to be believed or trusted

    has, is and will always be a LIAR, WARMONGER,

    we are the whiners experiencing a mental recession and comes NOVEMBER we will RISE UP and WISE UP for a better future and more important: A NEW NATION PROUD AND BEAUTIFUL and UNITED!

    We Democrats Know How To Vote: OBAMA will be our choice

    July 16, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. Texans for Obama

    Well at least he is trying to get some black votes. But it won't help him at all. This is just a little late. He voted against the Martin Luther King Holiday, and didn't care about the Katrina victims until he was running for President but here is a man with 25 yrs of senate experience. Black people died for the right to vote in the sixties, and McCain only went to Selma this year!

    MCain and Bush was clueless when Katrina devastated New Orleans, and they took so long to help, many blacks died. We can get to Iraq faster than they got to Louisiana. ( Then the media was calling the African American's "refugees") George Bush was surveying the damage from his plane, not on the ground. Where was McCain then?
    This man is too late. I have to say that at least he has some courage to court the black vote that's more than I can say for George Bush.

    July 16, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Doris,Memphis,TN

    McCain needs a geography tutor on the road!
    Leaders must be competent!

    July 16, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  4. ANGIE


    July 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. bert

    If Mcsame, really wants to help Black and Latino males ( the leaders in these percarious statistics ), he should also look to fix the systemic racism that has a strangle hold on the business sector, media, sports and entertainment, banking and the legal system. Obama, as our President, will be like a breath of fresh air because he is smart and decisive and his judgement looks to be inclusive to everybody. Obama gives the United States of America, the gravitas to show the world that we are ready to take back the lead. Besides...Mcsame can't even send an email or get on line for that matter. What's that about?

    July 16, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  6. carolflowery

    McCain gets dissed here all the time, i dont see all the dissing on other channels, it must be just a cnn thang

    July 16, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. Lisa in Phx

    Can I just point out that Arizona has the LOWEST paid teachers and our students here scored at the bottom on all national tests. How about you fix the problems here at home before you start telling the nation how to run their schools McCain. Arizona hates you.

    July 16, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  8. Jeff

    The government can’t help kids in failing schools. Only the families of those children can help. If they would stress education instead of sports, help children with homework and encourage learning it's likely that the failing schools wouldn’t be failing. It seems that folks think that they can dump their kids at school with no further effort and that child will come out with a good education. Not so. While I believe many schools could use more cash and that is a problem, many children come out of failing schools with a good education and go on to do great things. That just illustrates how family involvement can change the course of education. It's much more important than governmental involvement.

    July 16, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. TunnelVision

    Hope he doesn't end up speaking about educational reform in ...Czechoslovakia

    July 16, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Chris

    McCain is desperate!!! If his chances of winning were better, he would care less about speaking to NAACP!!
    He could have spoke in front of the NAACP a long time ago as just a Senator to explain why he didn't vote for the MLK holiday!!!

    Please see this for what it's worth PANDERING!!!!!!

    July 16, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  11. Janet

    The folks at the NAACP don't want to hear McCain but I'll give in an A for effort. Bush didn't even pretend to go court the black vote. But unless gramps changes his agenda he can kiss these votes goodbye.

    July 16, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. Texun

    Now let's see: McCain barely graduated from the Naval Academy and he isn't computer literate. He's going to lead on education?

    July 16, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |

    Whenever someone asks McCain a questions he always looks like a deer in headlights. On the Viagra question I thought they were going to have to give him oxygen. All he could do is make little noises and gasp for air.

    McCain is so far out in left field. He needs to get some Viagra and retire.

    July 16, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. Newsdiva

    So he's getting off his high horse...read wife's private jet...and dropping in on the colored folks today eh? WOW, should we feel honored or INSULTED. Personally, I'm going with INSULTED. This racist creep has nothing he could ever say to make me change my opinion of him, ever. Hey McCodger, do everyone a favor and just stay your old, creaky, pandering butt home!!!

    Obama 08 & 12

    July 16, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. Democrats Unite & Vote Big

    McCain & the NAACP, sounds like an oxymoron. I can only guess that the audience was formed from curiosity seekers. They're confidence in him is so low, They will support McCain in single digits or less in the fall.

    July 16, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |

    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.Yo! McCain .......you can enroll in Special ED!!!

    July 16, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. Doug, New Jersey

    A lib like Obama would see it as a waste of time to speak to a group of people who have no intention of voting for you. McCain wants to be a president for all Americans, even those who don't support him or his politics, no liberal Democrat politician can make that claim now can they?

    If you want stuff for free at the expense of other hard working Americans, have no personal responsibility and an evil hatrid of anyone who works harder than you do and has more than you then by all means vote lib Democrat. If you are about taking care of yourself and your familiy, being responsible for your mistakes, and wishing nothing but the best for all Americans in doing as much as they can with their American dream then the only choice is to vote Republican.

    July 16, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Candy West Virginia

    Quit Pandaring mcwar. The lowest paid teachers in the country are from Arizona where he is senator. Interesting huh?

    July 16, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  19. Xavier

    After Bush created No CHild Left Behind, and then refused to properly fund it I will never trust any republican that talks about education reform. We need new blood in the white house, not the same old tired epublican politicians like McCain that promise change, and deliver nothing.

    July 16, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. Honest & honorable ... Democrats ...

    McCain favors education vouchers given evenly to familes regardless of income.

    The problem is, he sets the threshold for these vouchers at a level where they only provide a subsidy to RICH parents.

    For example, a $7,000 private school bill becomes a $2,000 private school bill.

    For the POOR parents that $5,000 voucher simply means they are $2,000 away from being able to send their child to a better school.

    If McCain is "In-touch" with the needs of working people, he'd know this.

    If he does know it but continues to advocate for these vouchers then he is only interested in using public money to help the RICH.

    Which is it?

    July 16, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. McCrazy

    How about educating yourself on the foreign policy you claim you are so experienced in. Ask the Sunnis or the Shia's. I can't remember which. Or Chechoslovokia. I hear the USSR can be of help also.

    July 16, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. Karin

    McSame: "And if you believe me, I have a bridge to sell...."

    July 16, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  23. WOW - Cedar Hill, TX

    This should be really interesting....Sorry McCain, it going to be hard to capture the Black votes.....

    Obama all the way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  24. TF

    McCain should just offer them 40 acres and a mule. That should fix everything.

    July 16, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Joseph - Ohio

    Blaw, blaw, blaw.....McCain has no real agenda to talk about with African Americans so he picked something out the hat, education.

    This is the first time in American History that an African American will be nominated President. McCain you are waisting your time presenting your fake agenda to African Americans.

    July 16, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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