STATEMENT BY JOE LOCKHART NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY
Bashing America's teachers and slashing funding for public education is not an education plan for our future. Last year, Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich passed the most anti-education budget in American history cutting $31 billion in funding for public education. Today, Bob Dole said he wants to take another $15 billion from public education. Bob Dole is using teacher bashing as a smoke screen in another attempt to siphon funds from public education.
What a contrast today's proposal presents.
President Clinton is working to improve public education by working with parents, teachers and local communities, providing more choice and improving standards, facilities and safety in our schools.
Bob Dole wants to tear down public education by pitting teachers against parents and dramatically reducing our investment in public schools.
CHECK THEIR RECORDS ON SCHOOL CHOICE: PRESIDENT CLINTON HAS BEEN A LEADER IN PROMOTING COMPETITION, ACCOUNTABILITY AND PARENTAL CHOICE
"I challenge every state to give all parents the right to choose which public school their children will attend; and to let teachers form new schools with a charter they can keep only if they do a good job." - President Bill Clinton, State of the Union Address, January 23, 1996
I. AS GOVERNOR, BILL CLINTON PROPOSED AND WON PUBLIC SCHOOL CHOICE. Governor Bill Clinton proposed and signed the law in 1989 allowing parents to choose any public school in any school district -- making Arkansas among the first states to have such a law.
II. AS PRESIDENT, BILL CLINTON HAS REPEATEDLY ACTED TO PROMOTE CHARTER SCHOOLS AND CHOICE -- BOB DOLE REPEATEDLY OPPOSED HIM:
1. PRESIDENT CLINTON WON PASSAGE OF LEGISLATION TO HELP ESTABLISH CHARTER SCHOOLS TO EXPAND PARENTAL CHOICE AND COMPETITION. As part of his 1993 proposal to re-authorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, President Clinton proposed providing start-up funds for teachers, parents, and others to start charter schools -- innovative public schools governed by teachers, parents and others that operate free of many district and state regulations but are held accountable for results through performance-based contracts. In 1995, President Clinton announced grants to provide start-up funds for Charter Schools in 11 states, including Minnesota, Michigan, California, Texas, and Massachusetts.
BOB DOLE VOTED NO: Bob Dole voted against the Improving America's Schools Act that created the Charter School program. [Congressional Record 10/5/94, Senate Vote 321]
2. PRESIDENT CLINTON MADE CHARTER SCHOOLS A CLEAR OPTION FOR SCHOOLS THAT DON'T PERFORM. The President reformed the Title I education program -- which provides funds to improve the basic skills of children from disadvantaged schools. The President's proposal specifically listed "the creation of a charter schools" as an option for local communities.
BOB DOLE VOTED NO: Bob Dole voted against the Improving America's Schools Act that reformed Title 1, which helps improve reading and math skills. [CR 10/5/94, Senate Vote 321]
3. PRESIDENT CLINTON FOUGHT FOR AND SIGNED GOALS 2000 TO RAISE ACADEMIC STANDARDS AND INCREASE ACCOUNTABILITY AND CHOICE. 48 states -- including all but two Republican governors -- are using Goals 2000 to raise achievement and choice. Goals 2000 funds can be used to support the development of charter schools, and at least three states are already doing so: Minnesota, Michigan, and Massachusetts. In Michigan, 8 charter schools were funded in 1995 with Goals 2000 funds.
BOB DOLE VOTED NO: Even as the Senate voted in a bipartisan manner to pass it (63-22), Bob Dole voted against Goals 2000: Educate America's Act. [HR 1804, 3/26/94] "It was a bad idea when I voted against it in the Senate, and it's still a worse idea now." [New York Times, 7/5/95]
4. PRESIDENT CLINTON'S BALANCED BUDGET MORE THAN DOUBLES FUNDING FOR CHARTER SCHOOLS to $40 million in 1997, and increases funding over the next 5 years to fund start-up costs for up to 3,000 new charter schools. [OMB, FY97 Budget, 3/96]
BOB DOLE RESIGNED AND REPUBLICANS VOTED NO: The House-passed FY97 Labor-HHS appropriations bill provides less than half the funding requested for charter schools.
Paid for by Clinton/Gore 96 General Committee, Inc.