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State Journal: Pitching choice; AnimaAdversions

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When Pierre S. du Pont 4th was Governor of Delaware, he saw parents ''lined up on beach chairs like they were buying World Series tickets" to get their children into alternative public schools.

That image, the former gop Presidential candidate recalled, prompted him recently to throw out the first pitch in a debate over educational vouchers in his state.

A plan that Mr. du Pont has tossed to the legislature and expects to see batted around this spring would provide $2,150 state "scholarships" for each child, to be spent at private, parochial, or public schools.

If passed, the proposal would make the First State the first state to provide tuition vouchers for religious schools and give it the most far-reaching choice program in the nation.

Senator David B. McBride, a Democrat and chairman of the education committee, questioned why Mr. du Pont had failed to make such a proposal during his eight years in office.

But Representative Tina K. Fallon, the Republican chairman of the House education panel, praised Mr. du Pont's plan and predicted that it will frame the debate over choice.

Mr. du Pont said his idea "clearly is not going to be enacted immediately" and probably is going to be caught up for several years in "a classic tug of war between parents who want a better education and bureaucrats who want the status quo."

Television commercials about education have created a fuss in two states.

In Kentucky, Gov. Wallace G. Wilkinson has run ads touting his record, in particular his role in passing the state's landmark education-reform law.

Although Mr. Wilkinson cannot run for re-election, his wife is seeking the Democratic nomination for this fall's gubernatorial contest.

"The National Education Association said no state has enacted changes as sweeping as Kentucky," the ads proclaim. "All because of an unyielding, impatient man who isn't the type to settle for second best."

That claim brought sharp retorts from both the nea and state legislators, who said the Governor hardly deserved so much of the credit for the law.

Gov. Pete Wilson of California, meanwhile, has blasted the California Teachers Association for "exploiting California's children in pursuit of still-fatter paychecks."

The cta has been running media ads opposing Mr. Wilson's efforts to suspend education-funding guarantees.

"That TV campaign deliberately seeks to confuse the welfare of that little girl and other students with increased compensation for teachers," the Governor charged.--ps & hd

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