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Reagan Applauds Choice, Prayer

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Washington--In a speech before a group of high-school seniors and their parents in Florida last week, President Reagan reiterated his call for "choice in education," saying parents should be allowed their choice of schools and children their choice to pray.

Speaking to about 8,500 students and parents of Duval County high schools in Jacksonville, Fla., Mr. Reagan called the school system one of the best in the country--one that got to the top without "lots of money."

"You didn't look to Washington for an easy way out," he said. "You did it yourselves."

"That's the idea behind our support for choice," he said. "Let parents choose the schools they believe will best prepare their children for the jobs and opportunities of the future," not the government.

"And while we're talking about the American people making choices, not Washington," Mr. Reagan added, "don't you think that each morning when you start your school day, you should have the same voluntary choice ... to bow your head to God in prayer?"

The President also fielded questions from high-school students about this week's summit meeting with General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union. When asked if he felt threatened by Mr. Gorbachev's rising popularity, Mr. Reagan replied: "No, I don't resent his popularity or anything else. Good Lord, I co-starred with Errol Flynn once."--lj

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