Moms Take a Look at Candidates, Education

Article excerpt

Byline: Raleigh & McCartney

Ted Koppel skipped the political conventions this year. So did many other Americans.

Seems like the frenzied people with funny buttons and signs can't compete with "Seinfeld" reruns. That's too bad, because education finally is being considered an important national issue.

But take heart. We actually enjoyed those glitzy conventions. As parents, we even got revved up as education became such a central theme.

We also did a little independent research so we could provide you with this look at what the presidential candidates are saying about educational issues.

President Clinton: He wants a nationwide effort supported by volunteers so every child can read on their own by third grade.

He advocates giving parents the right to choose which public school they want their children to attend; charter schools; testing students prior to advancement; rewarding good teachers; and removing teachers "who don't measure up."

He also asks that we "lift our teachers up, not tear them down."

For college education, Clinton supports a $1,500-a-year tuition credit and a $10,000 deduction in college tuition costs per year for a working family.

In general, he promises that "as long as I am president, I will never allow cuts that devastate education."

Bob Dole: He champions school choice and opportunity scholarships. He advocates giving parents $1,000 for elementary students and $1,500 for high schoolers to purchase tuition at the school of their choice, including religious and private schools.

Dole wants teaching to concentrate more on reading, writing and arithmetic rather than "global awareness" and "diversity" curricula.

He says of teachers unions: "If education were a war, you would be losing it. If it were a business, you would be driving it into bankruptcy. If it were a patient, it would be dying."

He thinks it takes families to raise a child, not a village.

Natural Law Party candidate John Hagelin: He supports fully funding the Head Start program, providing financial support for every student who wants to go to college, establishing higher national standards with practical means to achieve them, lengthening the school year, increasing the nutritional value of school lunches and upgrading the status and skills of teachers.

Libertarian Party candidate Harry Browne: He wants the federal government to get out of education. He advocates repealing the income tax so parents can afford to educate their children in their own way, through private schools or home schooling.

Reform Party candidate Ross Perot and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader haven't yet made education a big part of their platforms. …