Mondale Unveils $11-Billion Education Package
Mr. Mondale, who unveiled his education initiative at a press conference at Harvard University, charged that President Reagan had "turned his back on the country, its children, and its future" by failing to support increases in education spending to implement the commission's recommendations.
The President, in accepting the commission's report on April 26, said the report affirmed his Administration's position against "federal intrusion" in education, and he restated his commitment to tuition tax credits, school prayer, and education vouchers.
The Mondale initiative represents the second time a Democratic nomination seeker has included a specific federal education program in his campaign platform.
Senator Gary W. Hart of Colorado is the principal sponsor of the "American defense education act," a $2-billion set of programs supported by the National Education Association (nea).
A spokesman for the teachers' union last week said that Mr. Mondale's move "could be interpreted" as an attempt to seek the endorsement of the union. The union's research department recently estimated that implementing the commission's recommendations would require an additional $14.1 billion in federal funds.
The candidates "perceive us as being able to move and shake in the political arena," said Phil King, the union's director of communications. He added that the union has not endorsed any candidate, although ''the nea and Mr. Mondale have always been close."
The Mondale initiative includes:
A $4.5-billion block-grants package called the "fund for excellence,'' which school districts would be permitted to spend on their own priorities;
Increasing by a total of $3 billion the appropriations for the Chapter 1 program, education of the handicapped, bilingual education, and programs for disadvantaged college students;
A $1-billion program to improve the teaching profession, including the recruitment of talented individuals to serve in an elite "education corps," summer training institutes for teachers and administrators, curriculum research, and paperwork reduction;
Spending $1 billion to modernize university research laboratories and libraries and to establish study awards for graduate students; and
A $1.5-billion financial-aid package for college students that would include increases in federal work-study, loan, and grant programs.