House Education Chairman Criticizes Gore's Education Proposals

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

( - House Education Committee Chairman Bill Goodling (R-PA) Friday called Vice President Gore's education proposals "fundamentally flawed."

Gore vowed if elected President he would propose earmarking $115 billion of the projected federal budget surplus over the next 10 years to upgrade public schools. Gore also said the money would be used to make pre-school available to every child and increase the quality and pay of teachers in poor neighborhoods.

Goodling said Gore's school proposals are "fundamentally flawed" because "they interject the federal government into local decision making and control to a breath taking extent. I believe our teachers are underpaid, but I don't agree with the Vice President that raising the salaries of salaried teachers is a federal role."

Goodling also said, "Mister Gore stood by silently year after year while the Clinton administration either ignored the special educational needs of disabled students or proposed what amounted to cuts in funding. Now, candidate Gore has seen the light and is proposing increases. Where has he been for the past seven years when we could have used his support and influence to provide needed funding for these children?"

Gore also believes the federal government needs to increase its financial commitment to public education and Goodling disagreed.

"If you liked the Great Society and believe that more government and more money are the answers to every problem, you'll love Al Gore's proposals, " Goodling said.

However, Gore's proposals received support from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

AFT President Sandra Feldman said in Washington Gore's "High Standards, Higher Pay initiative will help schools in high poverty urban and rural districts hire and retain qualified teachers and provide the support that teachers and students need to meet the higher standards that we expect of them."

On raising teacher pay, Feldman said Gore's proposals rightly acknowledge "that increased pay by itself will not guarantee success. So it includes strong provisions to hold teachers to high professional standards and provide them with the ongoing training that they need and deserve. It also includes incentives for states to recruit new teachers, lower class sizes and development statewide exams for high school graduation. All of these proposals, taken together, will go a long way to speed improvement in America's schools."