Bill Bradley on Education

2000 Democratic Primary Challenger for President


University partnerships: get teachers into high-need schools

One of the strongest predictors of how students perform on national tests isn’t class size or per-pupil spending, it’s the presence of a qualified teacher, a teacher who is fully certified and has majored in the subject he or she teaches.

The country will need 200,000 new teachers each year for the next 10 years. But it’s hard for schools to recruit good new teachers, especially in low-income urban and rural areas. To confront this urgent reality, we should establish partnerships between universities and high-need schools, partnerships that will train tens of thousands of high-quality teachers each year as well as improve the effectiveness of teachers currently in those schools. One aspect would be loan forgiveness and scholarship programs that provide a financial incentive for 60,000 college graduates a year to become teachers at public schools in disadvantaged areas. Each eligible student would be get loan forgiveness of $5,000 per year, or $7,500 in critical-shortage subject areas.

Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p.113-14 , Aug 15, 2000

Use budget surplus for more teachers & more Head Start

Bradley would be as concerned with testing the teachers as he would the students. For schools that fail to improve despite that, Bradley would wield the hammer of state takeover.
Bradley would double the $8 billion spent annually on Title 1 schools. Also, with an eye on the looming teacher shortage, Bradley would offer annual scholarships of up to $7,500 to high school seniors who commit to teach in an urban or rural school, or in fields like special education, for at least five years.
Bradley would add 400,000 children 1 to 5 years of age to the Head Start program, which already provides intensive early education to 800,000 children.
Overall, Bradley would spend an extra $175 billion over 10 years, and has said he would find much of that money in the surplus.
Bradley’s proposal focuses on a few areas: expanding Title 1 and ensuring a high-quality teaching force by requiring teachers to have majored in their subjects or to take a test to demonstrate proficiency.
Source: New York Times on 2000 election , Feb 29, 2000

Measure performance; close lowest-performing schools

Q: Should federal money be linked to how well students perform on national or statewide tests? A: We shouldn’t send billions to the states without making sure that there are qualified teachers in every classroom and that federal dollars are actually helping children to learn. I would require that schools receiving Title I funds (aid to disadvantaged students) make measurable yearly progress towards raising student achievement in reading and math on statewide tests so that all children are performing at grade level within 10 years. Extra funds would go to schools that fail to make such progress, and persistently low-performing schools would be given new leadership or closed down and re-opened as charter schools. Parents of children in non-performing schools could send their ids to higher performing public schools.
Source: Associated Press on 2000 presidential race , Feb 23, 2000

400,000 more in Head Start; 2,000 more after-school programs

The key thing when it comes to education is to conceive of education as beginning at birth, extending through every life stage and being for everyone. The first three years of life are decisive in terms of early brain formation. That’s why I think you begin investing in education in those first three or four years. I think then it’s important to increase the Head Start slots by 400,000, because that prepares kids to go to school. And then I think it’s very important to when you get to elementary and secondary [to add] 2,000 after-school programs for kids so between 3PM and 8PM they have some place to go. Then a major investment in community colleges and more funding for special education which would reduce the [local] property tax burden.
Source: Democrat Debate in Manchester NH , Jan 26, 2000

“Lifetime education” from birth to every life stage

I view education as not just simply K through 12, I view it as beginning at birth, extending through every life stage and for everybody. And that means early child care and 400,000 more slots for Head Start, getting kids ready to learn. In elementary and secondary school, that means making sure there are qualified great teachers in every classroom. I’ve offered a proposal that would put 600,000 qualified great teachers in public schools in urban areas and in rural areas of this country.
Source: Democrat Debate in Des Moines, Iowa , Jan 17, 2000

Education excellence begins with 60,000 great new teachers

I graduated from Crystal City High School in 1961. Then, as now, it was the public high school in that Missouri town. I was lucky to have some terrific teachers back then. But today we need teachers to teach skills we never heard of in 1961. And that’s why I’ve proposed training and placing 60,000 new teachers a year for the next 10 years. Because real excellence in public education begins with great teachers in the classroom.
Source: Television advertisement in NH & Iowa , Jan 13, 2000

Education plan: $90B over 10 years

Source: NY Times, p. A15, on 2000 election , Jan 4, 2000

Feds should fulfill special ed commitments

Q: How would you mobilize funding for special education mandates? A: The federal government made a solemn commitment to fund up to 40% of special education. It’s not doing that now at all. Some local tax dollars are being spent to cover special ed needs, and that means those tax dollars are not used for the other school needs. The national government should increase what it spends on special ed, thereby liberating monies that are raised locally to be spent locally on general school needs.
Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 28, 1999

Scholarships & loans to create 60,000 new teachers

We need to look out at the future: what do we have to face in this country over the next decade? We’re going to lose 2.2 million teachers. The key priority is to make sure that there is a good teacher in every classroom. I have proposed a combination of scholarship and loan forgiveness that would create 60,000 new teachers every year going into urban and rural school districts across this country to help those school districts meet the needs of their students.
Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 28, 1999

Spirit of experimentation is solution to urban schools

Q: What are you going to do to change the inner city schools? A: We need to apply resources and ingenuity. Early childhood education is critical; [as is] getting people ready to go to school, addressing child poverty and Head Start. But more than just a specific program, is the spirit behind it. If I’m president, [like FDR experimenting to end the Depression], when it comes to urban public education, we’re going to experiment here, experiment there, but we are going to improve urban public education.
Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 28, 1999

$400M per year for community colleges for tech & jobs

Bradley called for giving $400 million a year in grants to community colleges, an increase of nearly a third over current Federal support. The money could be used to improve programs intended to place students in jobs in the local economy or to retrain older workers whose jobs have changed or been eliminated by technological advancements. “A pair of strong hands are not what they used to be,” Bradley said
Source: Boston Globe on 2000 race, p. A24 , Oct 8, 1999

$200 per month stipends to elderly mentors

Bradley proposed $200-a-month stipends to the elderly for working 15 hours a week with young people in approved programs like tutoring or counseling.
Source: Boston Globe on 2000 race, p. A24 , Oct 8, 1999

Posting Ten Commandments in schools seems unconstitutional

Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley believes the legislative amendment passed by the House allowing the posting of the Ten Commandments in schools may be unconstitutional. “It will have to be tested in the courts,” Bradley said Thursday of the Ten Commandments amendment. “My hunch is it’s unlikely to pass constitutional muster.”
Source: (x-ref from Civil Rights) CNN AllPolitics “Mixed views” , Jun 18, 1999

Send urban kids to boarding school communities

Failure to improve current educational performance will produce a human and national disaster. Maybe we need to create boarding-school communities that instill values in the students while educating them. Good teams usually have good coaches. Good platoons have good sergeants. Good schools most often have good principals. In many urban environments, you need institutions that are part platoon, part school, part team, but dedicated to lifting kids to another level of self-perception.
Source: Time Present, Time Past, p. 392 , Jan 8, 1997

Voted for National Service & summer youth programs

Source: Project Vote Smart -- Voting Record , Sep 26, 1995

Voted against school prayer; for condom distribution

Source: Project Vote Smart -- Voting Record , Jul 27, 1994

Bill Bradley on School Choice

More info on schools so parents can choose what is best

A way to hold schools accountable is to enable parents to send their children to another school if the current one isn’t meeting their needs. As a condition of receiving federal aid, states should allow students to transfer out of a low-performing public school to attend a higher-performing public school.
Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p.115-16 , Aug 15, 2000

Allow parents to move to better-performing public schools

GORE: Bradley voted for vouchers every single time they came up for a vote during his entire 18 years in the Senate. I think those votes were a mistake. The Republicans always portray them as experiments, because that’s how they try to get Democrats to go along with it.

BRADLEY: When I talk to people in urban America, they’re very concerned about their schools. I frequently fought and always voted to increase Title 1 fundings. I advocate doubling Title 1 money, which is the largest federal program that goes to urban schools, and to use that money to improve the quality of the teaching -- every teacher has to be qualified to hold schools accountable so that we reduce the disparity between minority and non-minority performance. And give parents the freedom to move from one public school to another public school if the second one is a better performing school. That’s investment in urban public education.

Source: Democrat debate in Harlem, NYC , Feb 21, 2000

Vouchers gave parents a chance, but system isn’t big enough

Q: After 35 years and a $100 billion in Title 1 money, why shouldn’t urban minority parents conclude that opposition to choice supports a special interest-the teachers’ unions-rather than their interest? A: The reason I voted for experiments in vouchers on several occasions was because I was listening to urban parents. [As Senator, urban minority] parents would come up to me and say, “Our school is a disaster; drugs, violence, teachers that aren’t qualified, nobody cares. What are you going to do about it?“ And I said ”Well, you ought to join the school board.“ They’d look at me like I just descended from Mars. So I voted to give them a chance with a couple of experiments. There are now experiments in Milwaukee and in Cleveland. But I think the answer is not vouchers. Because the system isn’t big enough. The answer is a major new investment in public education under Title I, [with funds to make] the schools accountable for results and qualified teachers.
Source: Democrat debate in Harlem, NYC , Feb 21, 2000

Supports experimenting, but vouchers are not the answer

Q: If we create vouchers, wouldn’t it help the public schools by lowering the enrollments and, in fact, give the public schools more money, or no?
A: No, I don’t think so.
Q: Can you clarify your voucher position then at this time?
A: Sure. I don’t think vouchers are the answer to the problems of public education. I voted for it several times, when I was in the Senate, as an experiment. There are now two experiments going on. I don’t think it’s the answer to the problems of public education.
Source: Democrat Debate in Manchester NH , Jan 26, 2000

Voted for voucher experiments; now focus on public schools

GORE [to Bradley]: Senator Bradley voted for vouchers every single time they came up for 18 years in the Senate. I’m glad that he says he’s opposed to them now and that was a mistake, but when he talks about them, I still get the feeling he’s a little intrigued by them. I think that they represent a mistake because they would drain money away from our public schools at a time when we ought to be increasing the federal investment in public schools.

BRADLEY: I don’t think vouchers are the answer to the problems of public education. I’ve said that over and over in the course of the campaign. I voted for experiments. Those experiments were tried to help kids that are caught in dead schools have a chance. No experiments ever took place and so now I think what we need to do is we need to focus on how we improve education in this country. I’ve offered a proposal that would put 600,000 qualified great teachers in public schools in urban areas and in rural areas of this country.

Source: Democrat Debate in Des Moines, Iowa , Jan 17, 2000

Vouchers are not the solution to schools’ problems

Frequent tangling is developing over the question of taxpayer-financed vouchers for private schools. Bradley [voted] in the Senate to support voucher experiments in Cleveland and Milwaukee. But Bradley has said that unlike several Republican contenders, he does not see vouchers as the solution to public education’s problems. In any case, vouchers involve a fraction of the nation’s students and have little to do with who is president.
Source: NY Times, p. A15, on 2000 election , Jan 4, 2000

Voted for vouchers & for school choice, including private

Source: Project Vote Smart -- Voting Record , Jul 27, 1994

Voted NO on $75M for abstinence education.

Vote to retain a provision of the Budget Act that funds abstinence education to help reduce teenage pregnancy, using $75 million of the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Program.
Reference: Bill S 1956 ; vote number 1996-231 on Jul 23, 1996

Voted YES on national education standards.

Approval of national education standards.
Status: Bill Passed Y)71; N)25; NV)4
Reference: Goals 2000: Educate America Act; Bill H.R. 1804 ; vote number 1994-34 on Feb 8, 1994

Other candidates on Education: Bill Bradley on other issues:
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George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
V.P.Dick Cheney
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
V.P.Al Gore
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower (R,1953-1961)
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Page last updated: Oct 26, 2021