Robert Reich on Education

Former Secretary of Labor; Democratic Challenger MA Governor

We must prepare workforce for new economy

We must enable every person in the Commonwealth to make the most of their talents and abilities. That means affordable pre-schools; K-12 schools that are held accountable for results and whose teachers are paid enough to attract talented people to the classroom; community colleges that teach skills that businesses require; and the best universities in America. Progress has been made, but not nearly enough. A third of our workforce is unprepared for the work of the future.
Source: Campaign web site, RobertReich.org , Jan 25, 2002

Community Colleges are unsung heroes of workers

Community colleges are the unsung heroes of the working middle class, and we’ve got to link them up with people who need skills.
Source: Boston Phoenix article by Seth Gitell , Jan 17, 2002

Combine knowledge (know-how) with wisdom (know-why)

Knowledge is not enough [for college graduates facing today’s job market]. You’ll also need some wisdom. Knowledge is knowing how to accomplish something. It’s called know-how. Wisdom is knowing why you should accomplish it. Know-why. Wisdom involves values, judgments about what is important or worthy for you to be doing. Wisdom involves self-knowledge. In order to make wise choices about your life’s work, you’ll need to know something of who you are,
Source: Bates College Commencement speech , Jun 4, 2001

Grant $60,000 nest egg to high school graduates

[In his book] “The Future of Success” Reich proposes a way to grant a $60,000 nest egg to high school graduates, a sort of monetary gift that can be used to invest in school, the stock market, or a spanking new sports car. Naturally, conservatives scoff at the idea. But Reich doesn’t back down. “I think that conservatives may fail to understand the importance of giving young people a stake in capitalism, to get on the upward escalator with regard to education and asset ownership,” he says.
Source: Jamie Allen, CNN.com , Mar 5, 2001

Standardized tests are too one-size-fits-all for many kids

Standardized tests are the biggest thing to have hit American education since Sputnik. Responding to the understandable demands for more “accountability,” almost every school in the land is morphing into a test-taking factory.

Uniform tests present clear goals and give students, parents and schools ways to measure progress toward meeting them. But standardized tests are monstrously unfair to many kids. We’re creating a one-size-fits-all system that needlessly brands many young people as failures, when they might thrive if offered a different education whose progress was measured differently.

In our headlong rush toward “accountability,” we seem to be veering toward two extremes-either expecting every child to pass the same test or assuming that they are uneducable, relegating them to a vocational track.

Our challenge is to find different measures of the various skills relevant to the jobs of the new economy. It’s our job not to discourage our children, but to help them find their way.

Source: The New York Times, Op-Ed, “One Education Does Not Fit All” , Jul 11, 2000

New economy skills not measured by standardized tests

Responding to demands for more “accountability,” almost every school is morphing into a test-taking factory. Paradoxically, we’re embracing standardized tests just when the new economy is eliminating standardized jobs. Given the widening array of possibilities, there’s no reason that every child must master the standard high school curriculum that has barely changed in half a century. It’s our job not to discourage our children, but to help them find their way.
Source: NY Times, news section , Jul 11, 2000

Robert Reich on School Choice

Give poor kids a choice, but not via vouchers

Q: What is your position on educational vouchers for private education?

A: I’m against vouchers for private school but in favor of backing kids from poor communities and giving them a choice of public schools. I don’t want a system that drains from public schools; they need every penny. We need to raise the educational capacity of all schools so children are not sorted any more than they already are by the areas they can afford to live. And these poor children should have choices.

Source: Al Turco, Stoneham Independent , Mar 20, 2002

Never supported vouchers, despite interpretation that way

Q: Has your position on educational vouchers for private education changed over time?

A: I respect local decisions but will make the case for why public school choice is a good thing, especially the extra money it can bring to schools. Poor kids are often trapped in schools with little resources. One way to help them bust out of this cycle is to come back with more funding and allow students to choose the schools best using these funds. And I don’t think everyone who lives in the city wants to go to school in the suburbs. Kids want good schools near their homes.

I wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal that was interpreted as supporting private school vouchers, but then I wrote another piece soon after, explaining that that was not my position.

[Stoneham Independent editor’s note: Massachusetts communities have the option of opting in or out of the public school choice pool. The local School Committees vote. Stoneham, for example, opted out.]

Source: Al Turco, Stoneham Independent , Mar 20, 2002

Poorest children should get largest vouchers

Most of the people who have been losing out don’t have an adequate education--the first prerequisite to success in the new economy. So the best investment in their future prosperity is to improve their store of “human capital.”

The risk of most school voucher proposals is that the poorest children--normally those with the biggest learning or behavioral problems--would be sorted together into the least-desirable schools. One way to avoid this would be to make the size of the voucher proportional to family need. Children from the very poorest families would have the largest and most valuable vouchers, thereby making the children sufficiently attractive for good schools to want to compete for them.

Source: The American Prospect, vol.12, no.3,“New Economy” , Feb 12, 2001

$10,000 vouchers for poor kids in private & charter schools

The only way to begin to decouple poor kids from lousy schools is to give poor kids additional resources, along with vouchers enabling them and their parents to choose how to use them. Per-pupil public expenditures now average between $6,000 & $7,000 a year. Ideally, a child from America’s poorest 20% of families would receive a voucher worth between $10,000 & $12,000. Children from families in the next quintile would receive vouchers worth between $8,000 & $10,000. The vouchers could be used at any school that meets certain minimum standards, regardless of whether the school is now dubbed “public,” “charter’’ or ‘’private.’’ (Leave aside, for now, the tricky First Amendment issue of public money for religious schools.)

What would be the likely result of such progressive vouchers? Schools already in easy geographic reach of poor kids would get an immediate infusion of billions of dollars. Wealthier suburban schools would have even greater incentive to compete for students from poor families.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Op-Ed, “Progressive Vouchers” , Sep 6, 2000

2010 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Education: Robert Reich on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Deval Patrick
MA Senatorial:
John Kerry
Scott Brown

2011 Special Elections:
CA-36:Jane Harman(D)
CA-36:Janice Hahn(D)
NV-2:Dean Heller(R)
NY-9:Anthony Weiner(D)
NY-26:Chris Lee(R)
NY-26:Kathleen Hochul(D)
Retiring 2012:
CA-6:Lynn Woolsey(D)
OK-2:Dan Boren(D)
MI-5:Dale Kildee(D)
TX-14:Ron Paul(R)
Running for Mayor:
CA-51:Bob Filner(D)
Running for Governor:
IN-6:Mike Pence(R)
WA-8:Dave Reichert(R)
Running for Senate:
AZ-1:Jeff Flake(R)
CT-5:Chris Murphy(R)
HI-2:Mazie Hirono(D)
IN-2:Joe Donnelly(D)
MO-2:Todd Akin(R)
MT-0:Dennis Rehberg(R)
ND-0:Rick Berg(D)
NM-1:Martin Heinrich(D)
NV-1:Shelley Berkley(D)
UT-3:Jason Chaffetz(R)
Dem. Freshmen
in 112th Congress:

AL-7:Terri Sewell
CA-33:Karen Bass
DE-0:John Carney
FL-17:Frederica Wilson
HI-1:Colleen Hanabusa
LA-2:Cedric Richmond
MA-10:Bill Keating
MI-13:Hansen Clarke
RI-1:David Cicilline
GOP Freshmen
in 112th Congress:

AL-2:Martha Roby
AL-5:Mo Brooks
AZ-1:Paul Gosar
AZ-3:Ben Quayle
AZ-5:David Schweikert
AR-1:Rick Crawford
AR-2:Tim Griffin
AR-3:Steve Womack
CA-19:Jeff Denham
CO-3:Scott Tipton
CO-4:Cory Gardner
FL-12:Dennis Ross
FL-2:Steve Southerland
FL-21:Mario Diaz-Balart
FL-22:Allen West
FL-24:Sandy Adams
FL-25:David Rivera
FL-5:Rich Nugent
FL-8:Dan Webster
GA-2:Mike Keown
GA-7:Rob Woodall
GA-8:Austin Scott
ID-1:Raul Labrador
IL-8:Joe Walsh
IL-10:Bob Dold
IL-11:Adam Kinzinger
IL-14:Randy Hultgren
IL-17:Bobby Schilling
IL-8:Joe Walsh
IN-3:Marlin Stutzman
IN-4:Todd Rokita
IN-8:Larry Bucshon
IN-9:Todd Young
KS-1:Tim Huelskamp
KS-3:Kevin Yoder
KS-5:Mike Pompeo
LA-3:Jeff Landry
MD-1:Andy Harris
MI-1:Dan Benishek
MI-2:Bill Huizenga
MI-3:Justin Amash
MI-7:Tim Walberg
MN-8:Chip Cravaack
MO-4:Vicky Hartzler
MO-7:Billy Long
MS-1:Alan Nunnelee
MS-4:Steven Palazzo
GOP Freshmen
in 111th Congress:

NC-2:Renee Ellmers
ND-0:Rick Berg
NH-2:Charlie Bass
NH-1:Frank Guinta
NJ-3:Jon Runyan
NM-2:Steve Pearce
NV-3:Joe Heck
NY-13:Michael Grimm
NY-19:Nan Hayworth
NY-20:Chris Gibson
NY-24:Richard Hanna
NY-25:Ann Marie Buerkle
NY-29:Tom Reed
OH-1:Steve Chabot
OH-15:Steve Stivers
OH-16:Jim Renacci
OH-18:Bob Gibbs
OH-6:Bill Johnson
OK-5:James Lankford
PA-10:Tom Marino
PA-11:Lou Barletta
PA-3:Mike Kelly
PA-7:Patrick Meehan
PA-8:Mike Fitzpatrick
SC-1:Tim Scott
SC-3:Jeff Duncan
SC-4:Trey Gowdy
SC-5:Mick Mulvaney
SD-0:Kristi Noem
TN-3:Chuck Fleischmann
TN-4:Scott DesJarlais
TN-6:Diane Black
TN-8:Stephen Fincher
TX-17:Bill Flores
TX-23:Quico Canseco
TX-27:Blake Farenthold
VA-2:Scott Rigell
VA-5:Robert Hurt
VA-9:Morgan Griffith
WA-3:Jaime Herrera
WI-7:Sean Duffy
WI-8:Reid Ribble
WV-1:David McKinley
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