John McCain on School Choice

Local charters are the best Arizona schools

Q: To combat the teachers unions you deplore, should we have federal standardized tests?
A: You would agree with that if you believed that the power of the teachers unions cannot be broken. The teachers unions in my state fought tooth & nail against charter schools. Yet we prevailed and the best schools in my state happen to be charter schools. I believe that it’s a serious mistake to allow some bureaucrat in Washington to decide about the standards to be set by the people of the state of Arizona.
Source: GOP debate in Los Angeles Mar 2, 2000

Let states decide if they link vouchers to student testing

McCain supports a program of federally financed vouchers, but states would decide individually whether to use standardized tests to make high-stakes decisions about who could get the vouchers.
McCain’s proposal would create the most ambitious voucher experiment yet, spending $5.5 billion over three years to present one million students with vouchers of up to $2,000 annually.
To counter the argument that vouchers siphon money from public schools when students leave, McCain would create a new source of financing: the tax money now spent as corporate subsidies.
The senator has yet to define how the vouchers would be awarded, but he has said the poorest children in the worst schools would be immediately eligible.
McCain’s voucher proposals would probably face stiff opposition in Congress. Not only would the industries targeted by McCain fight to retain their share of subsidies, but the House, as recently as last fall, declined to consider a voucher proposal.
Source: New York Times Feb 29, 2000

Use sugar, oil, and ethanol subsidies to finance vouchers

Q: How much power should the federal government have over state education? A: Choice & competition are the key to the future of education in America. Students in America rank at the bottom in the most disciplines such as physics & chemistry. We should try charter schools all over America. I would take the gas and oil, ethanol and sugar subsidies and take that money and put it into a test voucher program over three years to be used in every poor school district in every state in America.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

Tax breaks for charters - not from public school funds

I walked into a charter school classroom in Phoenix. On the desk was a children’s book of virtues. The teacher was teaching the virtue of the month, which happened to be the importance of telling the truth. We need to inject that in all of our charter schools and in schools all over America. I would provide the much needed tax breaks that are necessary to encourage them. I would certainly make them part of any voucher program, a test voucher program which I would not take out of education funds.
Source: (Cross-ref from Education) Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate Dec 7, 1999

Vouchers & charters will improve our school system

We have to have choice and competition in our schools in order to improve our school system, including charter schools, including a test voucher program that would be paid for with ethanol subsidies and with sugar subsidies. And in order to make that system work, the test voucher program throughout America, we have to have good teachers, and I would argue that merit pay, rewards for good teachers and helping bad teachers find another line of work is the way we must go about it.
Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 29, 1999

Nationwide test of school vouchers

Our children deserve the best education we can provide to them, whether that learning takes place in a public, private or parochial school. It’s time to give middle and lower income parents the same right wealthier families have -- to send their child to the school that best meets their needs. It’s time to conduct a nationwide test of school vouchers. It’s time to democratize education.
Source: Candidacy Declaration Speech, Nashua NH Sep 27, 1999

$5B program for 3-year test of school vouchers

McCain proposed a school voucher program to offer education opportunities for disadvantaged children, paid for by eliminating $5.4 billion worth of subsidies for ethanol, sugar, gas and oil. Under McCain’s three-year test program, disadvantaged children would receive vouchers worth $2,000 a year. The money would be used to offset the costs of attending any school chosen by the student or parents. “We shouldn’t have special interest giveaways at the expense of our neediest children,” McCain said.
Source: Mike Glover, Associated Press Jul 29, 1999

Tax-funded vouchers for private schools or charter schools

McCain’s platform calls for a school voucher program that would give tax money to middle- and lower-income families to send their children to private schools. And he praised charter schools - publicly funded schools that often serve a specialized curriculum and operate free from many government mandates.
Source: Associated Press Jun 14, 1999

Shift policy-making from bureaucrats to parents

McCain knows we can save public education if we “have the courage to do more than placate the defenders of the status quo.” McCain [supports] more money reaching our classrooms, increased financial flexibility for parents, greater choices for families, and well-trained teachers. He [opposes] Washington bureaucrats and public education unions dictating education policies. He believes in letting parents, educators, and local communities make the important decisions about our children’s education.
Source: “Position Papers” 5/24/99 May 24, 1999

Vouchers needed where teachers fail

McCain believes school vouchers should be available to parents in order that they may place their children in the best learning environment for their particular needs. He feels that each and every child in every classroom deserves a teacher who is qualified and enthusiastic about teaching. “Some people just aren’t meant to be teachers, and we should help them find another line of work. Because if teachers can’t teach, our kids can’t learn.”
Source: “Position Papers” 5/24/99 May 24, 1999

Vouchers for any schools; more charter schools

Source: Project Vote Smart, 1998, Jul 2, 1998

  • Click here for definitions & background information on School Choice.
  • Click here for policy papers on School Choice.
  • Click here for SenateMatch answers by John McCain.
  • Agree? Disagree? Voice your opinions on School Choice in The Forum.
Other candidates on School Choice: John McCain on other issues:
Pat Buchanan
George W. Bush
Al Gore
Ralph Nader

Minor Candidates:
Harry Browne
John Hagelin
David McReynolds
Howard Phillips

V.P. Candidates:
Dick Cheney
Joe Lieberman
Winona LaDuke
Ezola Foster

Lamar Alexander
Gary Bauer
Bill Bradley
Elizabeth Dole
Steve Forbes
Orrin Hatch
Alan Keyes
John McCain
Dan Quayle
Bob Smith
Senate Races:
(AZ) Kyl  vs. Starky
(CA) Feinstein  vs. Campbell  & Lightfoot
(CT) Lieberman  vs. Giordano  & Green
(DE) Roth  vs. Carper
(FL) McCollum  vs. Nelson  & Logan
(GA) Miller  vs. Mattingly
(HI) Akaka  vs. Douglas
(IN,R) Lugar  vs. Johnson
(MA) Kennedy  vs. Robinson  & Howell  & Lawler
(MD) Sarbanes  vs. Rappaport
(ME,R) Snowe  vs. Lawrence
(MI) Abraham  vs. Stabenow
(MN) Grams  vs. Dayton
(MO) Ashcroft  vs. Carnahan
(MS) Lott  vs. Giles  & Brown
(MT,R) Burns  vs. Schweitzer
(ND) Conrad  vs. Sand
(NE) Nelson  vs. Stenberg
(NJ,R) Franks  vs. Corzine
(NM,D) Bingaman  vs. Redmond
(NV,D) Bernstein  vs. Ensign
More Senate Races:
(NY) Clinton  vs. Lazio  & Giuliani  & Wein
(OH) DeWine  vs. Celeste  & McAlister
(PA) Santorum  vs. Klink
(RI) Chafee  vs. Weygand
(TN) Frist  vs. Clark  & Burrell  & Johnson
(TX,R) Hutchison  vs. Kelley  & Ruwart
(UT) Hatch  vs. Dexter  & Howell
(VA,D) Robb  vs. Allen
(VT) Jeffords  vs. Flanagan
(WA,R) Gorton  vs. Cantwell  & McKeigue
(WI,D) Kohl  vs. Gillespie
(WV,D) Byrd  vs. Gallaher
(WY,R) Thomas  vs. Logan

House of Representatives
SenateMatch (matching quiz)
Senate Votes (analysis)
House Votes
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Juvenile Crime
School Choice
Social Security
Tax Reform