John Edwards wants to take successful education reforms in his native North Carolina across the country as president.
At a middle school in Des Moines, Iowa, this morning, the Democratic presidential contender unveiled an education plan that includes creating a national version of the "Smart Start" early childhood education program in North Carolina. It also calls for a "School Success Fund," also used in North Carolina, to put teams of experienced teachers into struggling schools.
"Education is an issue thatís very personal for me," Edwards said in a statement issued by his campaign. "I grew up in a small, rural town and my parents didnít 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."
Other key provisions of the plan:
- A partnership to provide quality schooling to every 4-year-old.
- Higher pay of up to $15,000 a year for teachers who go into high-poverty schools.
- A National Teacher University to recruit and train 1,000 top college students a year.
- An overhaul of the federal No Child Left Behind law.
- A "Great Schools" initiative to build or expand 1,000 successful schools.