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Educators: If You Enjoy NCLB, You'll Love the McCain/Palin Plan!

10/03/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Gary Stager Teacher educator, education journalist, speaker, school reformer, university professor

Sarah Palin in Flightsuit

Mission Accomplished!
Although much of what recently elected and newly minted Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin says in her education plan for Alaska, reads like an undergraduate homework assignment, she does express support for something called ABC Schools.

While parents are an integral part of the student experience, students bear the lion's share of the effort. ABC students have nightly homework, back to basics curriculum, patriotism, ethics and citizenship training. Each of these is a key ingredient to providing a child a consistent education that meets the values of their parents while keeping them challenged in class.

Citizenship training? Sounds scary.

Parent reviews of one of the ABC Schools reveals much of what I suspected and feared:

Birchwood ABC is a wonderful magnet type school. This school teaches Kindergarten students phonograms and how to read in the first half of the year and spelling rules and how to write during the second half. My child has already read 40 16-page phonis readers. They are using the Riggs-Spalding methods for reading and Scott Foresman for math. The students will be doing timed addition and subtraction test by the end of the year. I cannot say enough about this school. The teachers are really great and the parents are very involved. The students have gym class and music class twice a week, art class and library time once a week, and recess every day. The school also stresses academics, citizenship, patriotism, responsibility, respect, and courtesy.

Another parent gushes...

I have been involved in this school for 7 years and every moment of it has been pure blyss! The staff members are a joy and the children are wonderful also! The school offers amazing physical and mental chalenges. It hosts a class for gifted children and for even more gifted children. Over all the school deserves 20/10 stars!

I left the spelling errors in to demonstrate just how well their commitment to phonics is paying off!

The good news is that the school has a segregated class for gifted children and even more gifted children!

Here is a review of a different Alaska ABC School by another satisfied phonics customer, a student:

this school is so focused on how u behave and the teachers really want to motvate u to get a good grade in every class. ive been at northern lights abc since a 2nd grade and they have really helped me in a lot of things, evn when im struggling really bad in grades.

Also from Palin's education plan:

The private sector will be integrated into the education system. I am looking for a dramatic change in this area in particular. Employers know what is needed for the workplace. They can provide curriculum and expectations for students to ensure they have all the skills that will invest them in success later in life.

Read Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools? by Kathy Emery and Susan Ohanian for a detailed analysis of what all that private sector "integration" means for children and their teachers.

It has also been documented that Governor Palin favors creationism instruction and advocates abstinence-only education. Her disbelief in the man-made impact on global warming doesn't bode well for the future of American science education.


Due to Sarah Palin's inexperience and incredibly short time in office, I have been unable to find much more information regarding ABC Schools or Palin's relationship with teachers or her education policies as Governor. Please share any info you have with me via this blog.