The Bush Administration again has sounded the call for choice in education, this time in the President's 1991 economic report and the accompanying annual report of the President's Council of Economic Advisers.
Noting that economic growth depends on "skilled and adaptable workers as well as modern capital and new technology," President Bush said in his report that improving the nation's education system "is the key to increasing the quality of the U.S. labor force."
Mr. Bush used the document to tout his proposed "educational excellence act," $690 million in new initiatives designed to foster educational choice, alternative certification of teachers and administrators, and improvement in math and science education.
The economic council's report elaborates on those themes, arguing that the competition created by choice and alternative certification will improve the nation's schools.
At a news conference last week, Michael Boskin, the council's chairman, said the reports highlighted education because it "is a primary component input into developing human capital."
"The ability of our future labor force, the kids that are in school now, to compete in an increasingly skill-dominated workforce in the future will depend upon the quality of the education they receive," he said.
Federal financial-aid programs appear to be accomplishing their goals of increasing access to higher education and expanding students' choices of schools, a recent study by the Congressional Budget Office concludes.
Citing data from the Education Department's 1987 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, the cbo noted that 98 percent of the low-income students who attended the most expensive schools received aid.
Copies of the study, "Student Aid and the Cost of Postsecondary Education," can be obtained by writing to the cbo, House Annex II, Room 413, Washington, D.C. 20515.