Saturday, January 26, 2008

Presidential Candidates on their Education and Health Care Plans

Presidential Candidates on their Education and Health Care Plans
By Simone Nelzi, 10
The people who want to be the next President all talk about their plans for education and health care, issues that are important to children. It's no wonder: Many parents with jobs cannot afford to have even basic health care for their children.
And what are this year's candidates promising to do about improving the nation's schools--especially public schools in rural areas and inner cities, which often lack resources to teach their students? I spent weeks working with each campaign to find out. Some candidates spoke to me directly, others e-mailed me their responses, and some (Mr. Giuliani!) would not respond, so I found out their positions from other sources.Here's where the candidates stand.
Democratic candidates:
Barack Obama -- Senator Barack Obama says that teachers lack the resources to educate their students. He said that the teachers could do an awesome job educating our children if the teachers are paid a good salary and provided with necessary tools. He promises to increase the amount of salary that is being paid to them. Senator Obama plans to continue the current "No Child Left Behind" policy, although he believes that the law significant flaws, which must be corrected.
Hillary Clinton-- When TFK asked if Senator Hillary Clinton intends to continue President Bush's No Child Left behind policy and if she has any plans for improving it, this is how she responded. "While I firmly believe in the goals of the No Child Left behind Act, the under-funding of this crucial law makes it very hard for teachers and schools to reach the goals. In 2008 alone, President Bush proposed $15 billion less than what is promised in the law."
John Edwards-- Edwards plans to introduce preschool for all four-year-olds by providing resources to states. These Great Promise programs will develop early academic skills, as well as helping emotional and healthy development, through parental involvement and lead teachers with four-year college degrees. Edwards wants to raise pay for teachers in successful high-poverty schools by as much as $15,000 more a year, including up $5,000 for all teachers in successful high-poverty schools, $5,000 for teachers with a national certification for excellence, and $5,000 for veteran teachers who serve as mentors. He will create a national teachers' university--a West Point for teachers--to train excellent teachers for our worst schools. He will also improve working conditions and increase time for teacher collaboration and planning, address barriers for teachers moving between states, help teachers with extra support in their early years and dedicate federal resources to reducing class sizes. Republican candidates:
Rudolph Giuliani-- Giuliani's website notes that he is a strong supporter of education and believes it is an important civil right. According to his website, Mayor Giuliani is going to take the decisions and give them to the people who would give anything up for their children and who love them and will take good care of them--their parents.
Mike Huckabee-- As governor of Arkansas, he introduced Smart Start, the first of several major reform efforts in Arkansas that were to focus on not only increasing funding but, more important, improved results. The plan affected the state's curriculum from pre-K through college so that there was coordination and continuity throughout the educational process. Huckabee sees at least 5 elements essential to improving schools:
1. Mark the standards--with challenging goals
2. Measure the progress--like with No Child Left Behind
3. Meet the expectations--there must be accountability
4. Mobilize the community
5. Move the potential
John McCain-- While No Child Left Behind targets the structure of education, it does not address the underlying cultural problems in our education system--a system that still seeks to avoid genuine accountability and responsibility for producing well-educated children. We must place parents and children at the center of the education process, empowering parents by greatly expanding the ability of parents to choose among schools for their children. All federal financial support must be predicated on providing parents the ability to move their children, and the dollars associated with them, from failing schools.
Mitt Romney-- When Gov. Mitt Romney was asked if he intends to continue President Bush's No Child Left Behind policy and if he has any plans for improving the system, he said: "I support the goals of No Child Left Behind and believe strongly in stressing with accountability both for our students and schools. I also believe however that some improvements need to be made in the law."
Fred Thompson-- First of all, I think we need to recognize where the responsibility lies. It would be easy enough for someone running for president to say: I have a several-point plan to fix our education problem. It's not going to happen. And it shouldn't happen from the Oval Office. We spend about 9% of education dollars now at the federal level. The responsibility, historically and properly, is at the state and local level.
Democratic candidates:
Barack Obama-- Senator Obama says that we are the greatest country in the world but when it comes to child health care we must do better! Health care prices are unaffordable. Over the past sixteen years, wages rose four times higher. The United States spends an ocean of money on health care every year. Yet, the prices for medical technology have increased every year, to a rate that many people with careers can't afford. Every year, about 100,000 Americans die from medical complications. Senator Obama wants to make sure that all American children have health insurance when he becomes president.
Hillary Clinton-- When Senator Clinton was asked if she has a plan that will address health care coverage for the children that are uninsured and here is what we got: "I was proud to help create the Children's Health Insurance Program when I was First Lady so this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. Recently, I released my American Health Choices Plan, a plan to insure health coverage for all Americans."
John Edwards-- Edwards says that we should require businesses and other employers to either cover their employees or help finance their health insurance. He envisions a system that lets every American share the bargaining power to purchase an affordable, high-quality health plan, increases choices among insurance plans, and cuts costs for businesses offering insurance. Once these steps have been taken, all American residents should be required to get insurance. Republican candidates:
Rudolph Giuliani-- The very best way to do it is more of an incentive for people to buy their own health insurance. You give people a $15,000 family tax exemption to buy their own health insurance. You also give them a Health Savings Account to up to $5,000 or $6,000.... And it brings down the cost of insurance. And then you break down the barriers where people can only buy [insurance] in one state and you let them buy in any state, so that we can set up a real competition. The thing that works in America is not socialized medicine that the Democrats want to bring us, not government control, not mandates, but a large consumer market where you empower people to enter that market is the only way to bring down costs and to bring up quality. (Source: 2007 Republican primary debate on Univision Dec 9, 2007)
Mike Huckabee-- The health care system in this country is irrevocably broken, in part because it is only a "health care" system, not a "health" system. We don't need universal health care mandated by federal edict or funded through ever-higher taxes. We do need to get serious about preventive health care instead of chasing more and more dollars to treat chronic disease, which currently gobbles up 80% of our health care costs, and yet is often avoidable. The result is that we'll be able to deliver better care where and when it's needed.
John McCain-- The problem with American health care is not one of quality, but one of cost. I have proposed a health care plan that addresses the escalating cost of health care to ensure more American families can afford access to the finest health care system in the world. I know the answer is not to increase the amount of bureaucracy through a government-controlled health care or single-payer system. The answer is... affordable and portable insurance options for as many Americans as possible and to help those without insurance to access the health care system with the dignity and quality care that all Americans expect and deserve.
Mitt Romney-- Responding to a question involving the SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Plan) program and how he will address the tons of children who are uninsured, Gov. Romney says: "The Democrat SCHIP expansion bill would take children out of private insurance and put them into government insurance. It was a flawed approach. The right course is to get all children and all citizens insured with private, market-based health insurance."
Fred Thompson-- Thompson says that Americans have the best health care in the world. Some, however, choose not be insured; others cannot afford it. He says that patients should have more information about their choices, and more choices. He supports a system of better prevention and personal responsibility.

From Time For Kids

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