July 16th, 2008
09:31 AM ET
13 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. A NATION OF WHINERS

    IS HE DONE WITH CZECHOSLOVAKIA?

    HE SPENT THE WEEK SOLVING THE NONEXISTENT

    PROBLEMS OF A NONEXISTENT COUNTRY.

    SENILITY FORE SURE.

    July 16, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    BULLDOG that is funny and you are so right, I wish him luck because he is going to need it. LOL

    Obama 08

    July 16, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. P Carter

    Bill From Florida, you are a idiot! Before you speak try and research your information. You do not have a clue on any facts, and trying to portray African Americans as being anything less than hard working Americans is untrue. Before you write your comments in the future on any other ethnic groups try to find out all of the information, and not just what you read on the internet. Also, maybe you should go back to school to learn how to spell.

    July 16, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Darth Vadik, CA

    A guy who voted against the MLK holiday twice.
    They should BOOOOO him out of there.

    July 16, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  5. Jerry

    I wondering why McCain didnt support MLK birthday as a national holiday in his state, McCain you will never win over black voters you another Bush. What you going to do to help build urban neighborhood who are losen there homes and jobs to condo development in the black neighborhood. We Love Obama

    July 16, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. Texas Democrat for Life

    McCain, why are you wasting your time after you had nothing to say to African Americans before? Pandering in full bloom...

    Obama '08

    July 16, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Vern

    I am not a McCain supporter but I give him credit for speaking at the NAACP. All views should be heard so that we can all make a sound decision.

    OBAMA 08 & 12

    July 16, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz

    NO SELF RESPECTING MINORITY SHOULD

    VOTE FOR MCCLUELESS. SLEAZO VOTED NO

    ON MLK HOLIDAY. NO ON VET COLLEGE MONEY.

    NO ON ALL WOMEN'S & CHILDREN'S BENEFITS.

    July 16, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Peter (CA)

    You have to give him credit for going someplace no one really wants him to be. Bush wouldn't even go to their events and he was more than happy to show his disdain for the organization.

    But, what can he possibly say that will resonate with the NAACP? His views and those of the people he panders to (Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly, Coulter) could not care less about anything the NAACP stands for.

    And, by the way, Vote McCain...the polls show Obama getting 91 to 97% of the black vote. Don't hold your breath for any big changes.

    July 16, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Abraham, Martin & John

    McCain is touted as someone that respects sacrafice, honor & patriotism.

    I can think of few Americans that fit this more than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Because of him, this NATION has more respect for the contributions of non-white, non-male members of the citizentry. Had King not been born, this country would be markedly different ... and not in a good way.

    Yet, McCain ... the former POW that embraces being touted as a "war hero" and, in fact, plays that up in his commercials, VOTED AGAINST recognizing MLK, an American HERO. He voted against the King National Holiday in the mid 1980's.

    This is an indication of his judgement and where his heart is ... or how he flip flops in the political wind.

    Which is it?

    July 16, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Harvey, Tampa, FL

    ALECO1 -–NOKOMIS,FL said:

    I LOST MY JOB, THE BANK TOOK MY HOUSE, MY WIFE LEFT ME SO THINGS DO NOT LOOK TO BRIGHT FOR MY FUTURE.
    BUT YESTERDAY GEORGE BUSH SAID THIS IS JUST A GLICH IN THE ECONOMY—MY GOD DO I FEEL BETTER NOW, GEORGE SAYS EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT.
    ITS A SHAME THAT GEORGE BUSH CANNOT RUN FOR A THIRD TERM, THE FUTURE WOULD BE SO MUCH BRIGHTER.

    So none of your losses were directly attributible to you. It's Bush who cost you everything...right? Wouldn't want to accept any personal responsibility on any of this, huh?

    July 16, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. Kelby from Houston, TX

    Did anybody read ALECO1 -–NOKOMIS,FL entry? Somebdy pray for this man!

    July 16, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. shannon

    I hope he is received respectfully. Most Reps don't have the courage to step in front of the NAACP...McCain does.

    Am I the only one that thinks this whole "Mc(insert word here)" is for 12 year olds?

    Is America full adult children?

    Grow up.

    July 16, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. Texans for Obama

    To Anonymous:

    Where have you been? The Naacp is not an useless organization, there are many white people, and other races that are members of the Naacp This is not just a black organization. Do your home work before you speak or otherwise you sound very ignorant! I am a member of the organization. I think you better watch Soledad Obrien's documentary next week on " Black in America" so you can learn some African American history!

    July 16, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. A Woman In California For Obama

    I personally would NEVER vote for this man. I hope those attending the NAACP convention remember he voted AGAINST MLK Day and lied about the reasons he did so. He has never and will never care about the rights or liberties of black Americans and is only pretending now to garner a few votes.

    Shameful.

    July 16, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Onedayatatime

    My Mother always taught me to be polite to company. I'm sure the NAACP crowd will be polite to McCain.....however he should not take kindness for weakness and make any of his typical foolhardy remarks. Remember to stay away from: 1. You people 2. Some of my best friends are black 3. Martin who? While I applaud you and Cindy's willingness to adopt a minority child I would be interested to know if you've taught that child the history of civil rights in this country, or if she is aware of NAACP history.

    July 16, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  17. Ian

    No child left behind is working so well, why don't we double it......again.

    July 16, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. Ian

    Education reform? How about somebody get him an updated map?

    July 16, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. Michael G- Ventura ca

    Independent voter: Seige Hiel! (Someone needs to tell you you're in America in the 21st century!)

    July 16, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Serviceman, how's this for specific flip-flops:
    FISA: Obama said he would filibuster, ended up signing the bill
    Mexican fence: Voted to fund it, now speaks against it
    Iraq: said the surge would never work, now has changed his web site to admit significant progress in lowering violence
    Iraq; Will get troops out immediately, now will consult with commanders on the ground and adjust his plan
    Public financing: Signed a pledge to accept it, now will not.
    NAFTA: Obama is against free trade, but his campaign told Canada not to worry about his public statements.
    Wright: He could no more disown him than his white grandmother, now has thrown him and his church under the bus. By the way, we haven't seen grandma around much either.

    Enough examples of flip-flopping? The man is an empty suit. Wake up!

    July 16, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. SIMP

    The old geeser will do anything to get elected, even act like he cares about the education of blacks and latino's. Wake up people this is the man who voted against MLk day. He does not have this countries interest at heart, only those within his circle. All you hillary supporters go ahead and vote for him, he still won't be the next president.

    Obama 08

    July 16, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. California Gold

    Another day hard at work pandering.

    July 16, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. ABB

    "Doug" New Jersey" says: July 16th, 2008 11:54 am ET

    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.

    You need to get over your paranoias about the "liberal" Dems....it's interesting to see you repeat all the repub talking points without even thinking......sorry to say, but the last 7+ years have proven your beliefs about the republicans have been totally disproven by this current administration, who does not care about you or any other common American...It is seriously time for CHANGE, and repubs are too self-absorbed to see that...

    July 16, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Lee

    McCain is making promises he has no intention of keeping–just look at his record. He doesn't believe what he's saying...political pandering at its worst.

    July 16, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. Barack the Vote in RI

    This coming from a man who knows nothing about computers...

    July 16, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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