National News Roundup
Democrats Eye Public-Service Route To College, Job-Training Aid
An influential group of Democratic leaders has advanced a proposal that would replace federal student financial-aid programs with a system allowing young people to earn their college or job-training support through public service.
The Democratic Leadership Council suggests that voluntary national service through a Citizens' Corps could be rewarded with benefits not unlike those in the G.I. Bill.
In return for one or two years of civilian or military service, young enlistees would earn vouchers toward their college tuition, vocational or job training, or housing.
Civilian workers would earn $10,000 each year toward their voucher, plus a $100 weekly stipend while they were in the program. Those who volunteered for military service would earn $12,000 a year toward a voucher, plus the stipend.
The program's aim would be to phase out existing student-loan programs. Borrowing would be available only as supplementary income for needy students.
DLC officials--who include Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia, the chairman, and leading Democratic governors and federal lawmakers--expressed hope that the proposal would be included as part of the Democratic platform. A spokesman for Gov. Michael Dukakis said last week that the candidate supports the proposal's basic philosophy.
In his new report on smoking, U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop exhorts schools to include tobacco-use prevention materials in their health-education curricula.
The 618-page study issued last week, the 20th in the government's series on smoking, is the first to label the nicotine in tobacco as a highly addictive substance that affects physiology in ways similar to other illegal drugs.
"Many children and adolescents who are experimenting with cigarettes and other forms of tobacco ... are unaware of, or underestimate, the strength of tobacco addiction,'' Dr. Koop writes in the preface to the report, "The Health Consequences of Smoking: Nicotine Addiction.'' "Because this addiction almost always begins during childhood or adolescence, children need to be warned as early as possible, and repeatedly warned through their teen-age years, about the dangers of exposing themselves to nicotine.''