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The Democratic Leadership Council has endorsed a 10-point plan calling for a "sweeping reorganization" of the nation's public schools that includes a call for states to develop parental-choice programs.

The group of politically moderate Democrats endorsed plans for public-school choice that include "protection against discrimination based on race, religion, and poverty."

Meeting at a three-day conference in Cleveland this month, the group also supported giving teachers and principals more decisionmaking authority, rewarding schools for producing better students, and providing a college education for needy youngsters who volunteer for national service.

The resolution, "Making Public Education Work," also calls on Democrats to support:

  • The national education goals set by President Bush and the nation's governors.
  • A national achievement examination system and an annual report card at national and state levels to measure schools' progress toward meeting standards.
  • Full funding of Head Start.
  • State efforts to allow entities other than school districts to operate public schools. The Bush Administration recently made a similar proposal.
  • Alternative-certification programs for teachers.
  • A "national system of apprenticeships" developed jointly by schools, businesses, and labor unions for students not going on to college.
  • A new "civilian gi bill" that would guarantee a college education in return for voluntary national service.

The resolution was endorsed by the group of more than 1,000 local, state, and federal elected officials.

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