July 17th, 2008
12:02 PM ET
14 years ago

Commentary: McCain right, Obama wrong on school vouchers

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/07/16/martin.vouchers/art.martin.cnn.jpg caption=" Roland Martin says school vouchers should be an option for families with kids in dead-end schools."]ACCRA, Ghana (CNN) - "All I want is for my children to get the best education they can."

That statement, along with so many others, has been a consistent one that I've heard on my radio show and in discussions with parents for years, especially those whose children are stuck in inner-city schools with decrepit buildings and a lack of critical resources.

And for the past 20 years, one of the most talked-about solutions for parents stuck in dead-end, failing schools is to give them the option to use vouchers to send their children someplace where they could get a quality education.

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (207 Responses)
  1. Raymond K Hessel

    You know, on second thought, Roland is right. We should just privatize education. It's worked so well for the war in Iraq. Does Halliburton even do Education contracts? What am I thinking? Of course they do.

    July 17, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Justin from West Haven, CT

    I usually agree with you Roland, but I think you are totally wrong on this issue.

    July 17, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Stunned in Kentucky

    This is a FIRST!

    Roland Martin has called Obama wrong! Wow, it probably will rain today!

    July 17, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. JohnBoy

    When do the debates start?

    Let Obama and McCain have at it.

    Is the empty suite scared of the debates? He should be.

    Have the debates let the American people chose who is right for America.

    I bet it will be McCain, the real American.

    McCain 08

    July 17, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. Kimber in Indy

    How about fixing the broken public school systems instead of handing out vouchers. Doesn't everyone have a right to a good education.

    July 17, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. kelly WI

    Not only do rotten schools have to be fixed but also take a look at the kids and the parents. No discipline. Get after the local gov's who fund the schools. paid by the local taxpayer. You can lead a horse to water but not make him drink.
    It's about time they emphazised the 3 r.s and less of all this social crap.

    July 17, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Deb, Allentown, PA

    Why do we have "dead end, failing schools"? It's a symptom of the greater woes our country faces. So what's the solution? Fix ALL the schools so that one isn't better than another.

    And all you Obama detractors...you're all entitled to your opinions, but could you get some new ones? It's the same old complaint, post after post. Could you be a little more creative and intelligent with your posts, please? You're boring me to no end.

    July 17, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. Ed, Santa Fe NM

    The idea of vouchers is a stupid and elitist idea that doesn't work (even in theory) unless one lives in a big city. For those parents in small cities and rural areas, there are no options.

    The American piublic school system needs a complete overhaul. Maybe if we hadn't thrown away trillions of dollars on the Bush Wars and his fake terrorism, we'd have money to fix our own infrastructure.

    July 17, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Democrats know the truth

    Obama needs to go away...

    I have never before been UNable to cast a ballot for the "nominee" of my party... in 35 years.

    Obama has no merits, accomplishements or qualifications for the office of the presidency.

    Being black and running a slick internet campaign with the most funding of ANY candidate in history- these are not qualifications we need in a leader.

    The amount of money that Obama has wasted in this egotistical, self-promotion grab for power is just SHAMEFUL.

    The democratic party deserves t lose.

    July 17, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Instead of providing school vouchers to parents to send their children to another institutuion of higher learning, why doesn't each of the state accept their responsibility and invest these funds to improve on the degrading education system that exist within their communities. We can just pay another institution to accept the responsibility which is inherent to the state and community. And who is going to pay for the vouchers? Education has never been a priority for the states, and if they paid teachers decent salaries.........that would have all the resources need to provide a quality education. Another instance of when money talks, and the truth remains silent.

    July 17, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Julie

    I guess every American has the right to their own opinion, Mr. Martin, and we're well aware of yours.

    July 17, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. Fishers, Indiana

    Barack Hussein Obama is wrong on a lot of things.

    July 17, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. interesting

    Martin trying to be fair and balanced?

    Too late – we know where your kool-aid lies.

    July 17, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. NC Man

    Give it a few days and Obama will change his position

    July 17, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Obamalism

    You can't fix public schools unless you demolish them from the ground up. From the teachers unions to the school boards to everyone in between, the system is so corrupt that no amount of money you throw at it will fix it.

    Another government run program that's a failure....go figure.

    July 17, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Change is not always a good thing

    Obama is never wrong.

    You, Roland, should know that better than anyone else.

    You have done nothing but build this unqualified candidate up into a myth of pefection, hope and change.

    Spending more money than ever to win a nomination and an election is NOT positive change... nor is making race a qualification.... nor is cheating to gains the nomination.

    July 17, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. TEXAN

    Voucher system ???? What good does it really do ? This will still allow a "few choice" of children to receive a better education. We need to fix the whole school system in every city so that ALL children will be able to receive the education that they deserve and need. On this, I disagree with Roland.

    July 17, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. Lisa F.

    Instead of "fixing" the public schools, fix the broken families that contribute to the decline of education in these districts. Believe me, it is not the quality of the education that leads to failing schools...it is the failing of the basic family structure needed for a child to succeed.

    Teachers in these schools are no differently trained than teachers in "successful" more prosperous schools. It is the background of the student in these failing schools that differs. It is the decline of an intact, caring family that has lead to the failure of certain schools.

    If a child is raised in a neglectful, abusive environment most will not be able to embrace educational opportunity. Many of these dysfunctional families look to the school system to raise their children instead of stepping up to the plate. Many kindergarteners of these defunct families can't count to ten or recognize letters of the alphabet.

    If a mother or father is more interested in turning the next trick or finding the next fix instead of getting little susie washed and ready for school, then no amount of educational reform can fix that.


    Giving money for vouchers to attend certain "successful" schools is not the answer.

    Where does that leave the poor children of these families?

    July 17, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. Free thinker


    Obama is wrong on many other issues... maybe if you race-bias had not so blinded you... we would have a better nominee for the democratic party.

    July 17, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. leo

    Another here who says the PUBLIC schools systems should be brought up to code and standards by the govt instead of being IGNORED AND LEFT ALONE. Which is the gist of vouchers, give money intended for schools to people who want to go elsewhere. Meanwhile, the people left behind will now be at an even worse institution.

    Bottom line is tho, i can see some of the reasoning, but calling either side wrong is shortsighted, especially since its a govt respnsiblity to provide adequate education. Face it, govt hasn't done its job, and this is just a plan to have SOME people go to a better place, certainly not all or even the majority.

    July 17, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. fixed for Obama

    Now that Obama has stolen the nomination of the party... it is okay for even Roland to offer up a tiny critique of the otherwise perfect Obama.

    It is safe now to disagree on small issues, since the BEST candidate has been eliminated.

    The democrats deserve to lose in Nov as a reaction to the travesty of justice that the primary was- and as a protest against unfair campaigning and fixed nominations.

    July 17, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  22. M.S. Indiana

    McCain this sounds like big government again and pandering...

    Would rather see a change in how the schools get the money. So that each kid is worth the same, instead of the current system.

    July 17, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. Obamalism

    To Ervin,

    Your proposal has been going on for the last few decades. There's no hope for the inner city schools. They stuck in a viscious cycle that no amount of money can fix. You have to totally remake them from the ground up.

    The place to invest is with the youngest students. You simply cannot expect to turn around a child in the 8th grade. They're usually multiple levels behind in skills because it's now un-PC to hold them back until they're ready to move on.

    Reform at the lowest levels, buck the teachers union, get government out of the schools, allow the teachers to TEACH, get the troublemakers out of the school.

    July 17, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  24. Steve, Chelsea, MI

    You guys thinking that Roland Martin is an Obama supporter are just plain wrong. Read ALL of his commentaries. He's a Republican. You probably just think he's supporting Obama because they're both black.

    July 17, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  25. Chuck

    Martin and McCain is wrong on vouchers. The state governments as well as the federal government need to fix the system so that every school regardless of location teaches to the same high standard. This is the only way we can prepare future generations to compete in the global world market. You dont sent children to other schools because the one they attend is broken, you fix that school and you fix it fast. Any state that continues to allow school that are not meeting current and future educational requirements to continue on its path, then the state government needs to be fired and someone put in place to make sure the standards of education for all children are the same regardless of location.

    July 17, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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