More headlines: Al Gore on Education

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Increase the federal role in education

Gore vowed last month: “I will ensure that there is a fully qualified, well-trained teacher in every single classroom, everywhere in this nation, by the end of four years.” Time and again, studies have laid out the obstacles to providing better teachers: Pay is too low to attract and hold the best prospects. Many graduates of teaching colleges are not well prepared. A license to teach is too easy to obtain.

To fulfill his promise, Gore would plunge the federal government into areas of education where it has not gone before, with an unprecedented multi-point plan to improve the pay and licensing of teachers. Historically, federal officials have stayed out of those matters, which have been the sole province of state and local leaders. Gore has cited record school enrollments and massive teacher retirements projected in the coming decade as reasons for a significant expansion of the federal role in education, backed by $16 billion in spending over 10 years.

Source: Kenneth J. Cooper, Washington Post, p. A1 on 2000 election Jun 11, 2000

High school exit exams to ensure basic skills

Gore would call on states to establish high school exit exams and other measures to ensure that high school students can read and do math at high school levels before graduating. Gore would provide states with extra resources for smaller classes and schools, and more rigorous courses with well-trained teachers. Participating states would develop a plan for ensuring that all students, especially disadvantaged students, are prepared to graduate from high school. States would also develop aggressive strategies to ensure progress in reducing the dropout rate. Bonuses would be given to school districts and schools that make significant progress in reducing the dropout rate. States that fail to make significant progress could lose administrative funding. This funding would be redirected to support local partnerships of schools and community-based organizations with a track record of success in reducing the dropout rate.
Source: Press release for Conference of Black Mayors Apr 28, 2000

Use budget surplus for teacher bonuses & more pre-school

Gore would test teachers only in their first year, and then shower them with federally subsidized goodies.
Gore would burrow the federal government into the local collective bargaining process in ways never before seen, offering federally financed raises of up to $10,000 to teachers in districts that commit to aggressive reform programs. He would also offer $10,000 signing bonuses to 75,000 new teachers annually, in hard-to-staff districts.
Gore would guarantee preschool for all children who are 4 years old, and many who are 3.
Gore has said he would finance his proposal, an additional $115 billion over 10 years, by tapping 10% of the estimated $1.04 trillion federal surplus--though he would face fierce opposition in Congress. Gore would be reluctant to tie federal dollars to a school’s academic standing.
Gore’s portfolio seemingly has something for everyone, with provisions to reduce class sizes, build & renovate schools and offer tax breaks for college savings accounts.
Source: New York Times on 2000 election Feb 29, 2000

Attack education problems simultaneously

Q: What is the biggest reform issue confronting schools?
A: I believe it is important to attack a number of problems in our public schools simultaneously so to ensure that children get a world-class education. That is why I have proposed a comprehensive plan to bring about revolutionary improvement to all of our schools; improved access to preschool; improvements to school infrastructure; better teacher training and pay; improved safety; and improved access to affordable higher education.
Source: National Association of Children’s Hospitals survey Jan 8, 2000

Education plan: $115B over 10 years

Source: NY Times, p. A15, on 2000 election Jan 4, 2000

Equal opportunity can be achieved with school reform

Q:How will you provide minorities with equal educational & other opportunities? A:I support affirmative action. I support the most vigorous enforcement of the civil rights laws. We’ve got to turn around failing schools-not to have incremental improvement -but to bring about truly revolutionary improvements. Treat teachers like professionals. Reduce the class size. Have higher standards. Have teacher testing for new teachers. Within due process, get rid of the teachers who are not doing a good job.
Source: Town Hall Meeting, Nashua NH Dec 18, 1999

More pre-school; more teacher bonuses

Q: What can we do to improve the education of our children? A: We’ve got to focus on preschool because most learning takes place in the first few years of life. We’ve got to give hope at the other end by opening up access to college education. I proposed a 21st Century Teacher Corps to give $10,000 hiring bonuses to young people who come out of college, get qualified for teaching and go to areas where teachers are needed, and mid-career professionals who are willing to switch careers & get certified.
Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 28, 1999

Education is best anti-poverty, anti-discrimination program

Gore said, “We must realize that education is the greatest anti-poverty program, the most powerful anti-discrimination strategy we could ever have.” Gore said pre-school programs should be extended “for every child, in every community in America.”
Source: Boston Globe, p. A12, “Gore details plan” May 17, 1999

$10,000 for joining 21st Century Teachers Corps

Today, I propose the creation of a new 21st Century Teachers Corps - open to talented young people across the country. Under this plan, if you agree to spend four years teaching in a school that needs your help - and if you pass a rigorous exam before you set foot in the classroom - we’ll give you up to $10,000 to pay for college. And for those willing to switch careers for teaching, we’ll give you a $10,000 bonus and pay for the training you need to get into the classroom.
Source: Commencement address: Graceland College, Iowa May 16, 1999

Smaller classrooms with “schools within schools”

We should provide incentives to create smaller high schools. And for those that have already gotten too big, let’s break them down by creating smaller “schools within schools.” Classes are also way too big. We should begin with a national commitment to reduce class size to an average of 18 students in the early grades - and then aim at average class sizes of twenty students or less across all grades. This will give all our students the individual attention they need to succeed.
Source: Commencement address: Graceland College, Iowa May 16, 1999

More pre-school, more after-school care

He believes that every child should start the first day of school ready to learn -- and that pre-school should be available for every child, in every community in America. He has worked to dramatically expand after-school care -- to give children safe, supervised, and educational places to go while their parents are still at work. He has urged a greater parental role in their children’s education.
Source: 5/15/99 May 15, 1999

More funds for teachers and modernizing schools

With the largest generation in American history moving through our schools -- even larger than the Baby Boom -- we face a special need to alleviate overcrowded classrooms, to replace out-of-date textbooks, and to wire all our schools to the Internet. Al Gore has fought for the Clinton-Gore proposal to modernize and rebuild 6,000 schools nationwide. He helped to win from Congress a down payment toward 100,000 new highly-trained teachers, to reduce class sizes from 22 to 18 in the early grades.
Source: 5/15/99 May 15, 1999

Make schools violence-free and drug-free

Gore has called for more character education and discipline in our schools. He has called for strong national measures to break up violent teen gangs and keep guns and drugs off the streets and away from schools. He has worked to put more drug counselors and violence prevention coordinators in public schools. And he has championed quality after-school care, to give children safe, supervised places to go during the afternoon hours when most juvenile crime takes place.
Source: 5/15/99 May 15, 1999

Five critical areas of education policy

To make sure that every child can seize the enormous potential of the 21st Century, Gore has worked for policies that invest in five critical areas: raising standards and improving the basics in our schools; modernizing our schools to create truly 21st Century classrooms; expanding access to higher education; making schools safe and drug-free; and working toward the day when every American will have the chance to keep learning for a lifetime, to get the skills they need to succeed.
Source: 5/15/99 May 15, 1999

A “revolution in accountability” and in investment

First, I am proposing a major national investment to bring revolutionary improvements to our schools. Second, I am proposing a national revolution in accountability -- to demand high performance from students, teachers, and schools. And third, I am proposing a dramatic expansion of public school choice

But Governor Bush falls short on all three goals. Instead of a major national investment, he offers a little spending -- but not nearly enough to meet the challenges our schools will face. And of course his tax scheme, if enacted, would guarantee big cuts in spending for public schools. Instead of a revolution in accountability, he passes the buck on the tough measures we really need. And instead of meaningful public school choice and competition, he proposes private school vouchers -- draining away precious public dollars from our public schools, giving them to private schools that are not accountable.

Source: Speech to National Conference of Black Mayors, Dallas TX Apr 28, 2000

Need both investment and accountability

Gore noted that Bush’s education plan “skimps on needed investments, asks too little on accountability, and does almost nothing to ensure meaningful public school choice and competition.”

“Investment without accountability is a waste of money,” Gore said. “Accountability without investment is doomed to fail. And public school choice and competition are essential if we want to push our schools to the highest possible levels of excellent education.”

Source: Press release for Conference of Black Mayors Apr 28, 2000

Close and re-open failing schools, with reform plan

Gore’s education accountability plan helps states and school districts identify failing schools, and turn them around. Under Gore’s plan, if a school does not make significant progress after two years, it would be closed down and reopened under a new principal with a proven record of success and a team of teachers to come in and turn that school around. The principal would be offered incentives of up to $20,000, outstanding teachers would be offered incentives of up to $10,000, and the team would be given the decision-making authority to manage budgets and hire staff. The school could also be reopened as a charter school. All children in failing schools with an approved reform plan would get high quality after-school help while their school is getting turned around.
Source: Press release for Conference of Black Mayors Apr 28, 2000

Tough teacher testing & peer evaluation

Q: Could you discuss education results? A: I favor tough teacher testing for new teachers, including in the subjects that they teach; tough peer evaluation for existing teachers. We need more teachers, to reduce the class size so there’s more one-on-one time between teachers and students who might learn in a different way. We need to turn around these failing schools, in the inner city and elsewhere. We need to focus on school safety.
Source: Democrat Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 28, 1999

National Tuition Savings plan helps families save

I have a proposal to make revolutionary improvements to our schools, including universal access to pre-school; smaller class sizes; more, better-trained and better-paid teachers; fixing failed schools; new and renovated school buildings; improved school safety; and a National Tuition Savings plan that would allow families to save for their children’s college education inflation-free and tax-free.
Source: National Association of Children’s Hospitals survey Jan 8, 2000

Lifelong Learning Savings Accounts

To keep up with a fast-moving, fast-changing economy, workers must have the ability to keep learning for a lifetime. Gore believes that in the 21st Century, buying lifelong learning should be as affordable & routine as buying a new appliance or financing a car. [Gore is seeking] new ways to help Americans pool their own savings, contributions from their employers, and federal funds -- to create new lifelong learning savings accounts, to help people pay for the higher education they need to get ahead.
Source: 5/15/99 May 15, 1999

Make commitment to public schools, not vouchers

Improving education is one of the greatest challenges our next President will face. It is also one of the major differences between me and my opponent, George W. Bush. Governor Bush says he cares about education and wants to improve our schools. But he has a bad plan. We need to invest more and demand more - not aim too low, invest too little, and drain resources away from public schools with private school vouchers.
Source: Speech to National Conference of Black Mayors, Dallas TX Apr 28, 2000

Revolution in public schools, but his kids in private school

Q: You always have opposed vouchers. However, the only child you still have at home is a junior at a private school. Is there not a public or charter school in DC good enough for your child? And if not, why should the parents here have to keep their kids in public schools because they don’t have the financial resources that you do? A: You can leave my children out of this if you want to, but all of my children have gone to both public schools and private schools. The reason I have opposed vouchers is because I think they represent a big and historic mistake by draining money away from public schools at a time when we need to lift up the public schools. I think that what we need instead is to bring revolutionary improvements to our public schools, not gradual improvement. And we need to start by treating our teachers like the professionals that they are and rewarding them adequately and raising standards and I’ve proposed a 50% increase in the federal share of investment in public education.
Source: Democrat debate in Harlem, NYC Feb 21, 2000

More public school choice - but not private

Parents should have more choice in their children’s public schools - especially those whose children are stuck in low-performing schools. We need more public school choice, and more competition - to apply the pressure that will improve all schools. And of course we must reject the false promise of siphoning public school funding away to private schools. That would only make things much worse.
Source: Commencement address: Graceland College, Iowa May 16, 1999

Vouchers drain cash from public school reforms.

Diverting tax dollars from public schools to support tuition for some children at private schools would drain the funds we need [for] an ambitious program of... reform that would allow us to have world-class schools in the 21st century.
Source: Time Magazine 4/26/99 p. 36 Apr 26, 1999

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