DMI Blog

Elizabeth Hartline Green

Where do the candidates stand on education? John Edwards on education.

This is the eighth installment in an ongoing series about where the candidates stand on education.

Today’s entry is about Senator John Edwards.

Sen. Edwards’ educational policies seem to mostly riff off his campaign theme of “two Americas.” Sen. Edwards supports economic integration (which is interesting, as I don’t think I’ve seen another candidate mention it—likely because economic integration is usually not thought of on a federal level). He supports expanding access to preschool, but probably in the form of increased Head Start access and not universal preschool. He also promises to ensure that all Title 1 schools have a college counselor.


Sen. Edwards also is for reforming the student loan program, and making it easier for students to gain economic assistance for higher education. One of his suggestions for increasing higher education affordability is to simplify the FAFSA (which is required for federal aid). Though the FAFSA is a long document (eight pages including the cover), the suggestion is a bit peculiar, as accessing it is extremely easy and it’s doubtful that changing the form length would have any impact on the number of students receiving federal grants and loans. Sen. Edwards was involved with a program that gave students in North Carolina free tuition to a state college if they agreed to work at least ten hours a week, but the free tuition was only for one year. He proposes extending this program to a federal level. With his focus on increasing education access, it is interesting to note that Sen. Edwards did not vote on a bill that came before the Senate in 2003 that would have raised the maximum Pell Grant award (the bill was defeated 47-51). Sen. Edwards also did not vote for a failed amendment that would have increased funding for the No Child Left Behind Act, though he supports increasing funding for NCLB.

Sen. Edwards supports increasing overall teacher pay, hazard pay, and providing scholarships for new teachers who agree to teach in hard-to-staff areas. He opposes both charter schools and vouchers, and voted to authorize a program to recruit more teachers so that class sizes could be lowered.

Edwards promises, if he becomes president, to increase education funding and equity. It remains to be seen, though, whether he would be able to get support for the first, and whether his plans for the second would actually increase equity.

Elizabeth Hartline Green: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 8:00 AM, Aug 26, 2007 in Candidates on Education | Education
Permalink | Email to Friend