ABC News’ Raelyn Johnson Reports: Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards today opened the announcement of his plan to overhaul public education with a personal peg.
"I grew up in a small, rural town and my parents didn’t have a lot of money. But I was lucky to have public school teachers who taught me to believe that somebody from a little town in North Carolina could do just about anything if he worked hard and played by the rules.”
In the speech delivered at a middle school in Des Moines, Iowa, Edwards, who considers himself a crusader for the middle class, said: "Every child deserves to have the same chances I had."
Edwards pitched his plan in three simple parts: Every child should be prepared to succeed when they show up in a classroom. Every classroom should by led by an excellent teacher. Every teacher should work in an outstanding school.
A cornerstone of Edwards proposed education overhaul offers alternatives to the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind, a popular reform item on the Democratic agenda.
"Washington is simply not doing its part to invest in early childhood education, teachers, or support for struggling schools,” Edwards says. Part of his overhaul includes to option to give states more flexibility to implement their own reforms in underperforming schools.
Additionally, under his reform umbrella, Edwards proposed universal preschool to four-year olds, raise pay by up $15,000 for teachers who work in high-poverty schools and reduce class sizes.