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Platform Calls for Strengthening Families, School Choice

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Following are key statements on education and related issues in the Republican Party's 1992 platform:

Uniting Our Family

... Republicans believe government should strengthen families, not replace them. ... We believe our laws should reflect what makes our Nation prosperous and wholesome: faith in God, hard work, service to others, and limited government.

Republicans trust parents and believe they, not courts and lawyers, know what is best for their children. That is why we will work to ensure that the Congress and the states shall enact no law abridging the rights of the family formed by blood, marriage, adoption, or legal custody--rights which are anterior and superior to those of government.

We will promote whole, caring families by eliminating biases that have crept into our legal and tax codes. We will advance adoption through significant tax credits, insurance reforms, and legal reforms. We encourage adoption for those unprepared or unwilling to bear the emotional, financial, or physical demands or raising a child and will work to revive maternity homes to ensure care for both mothers and babies.

... We urge state legislatures to explore ways to promote marital stability. ... [W]e urge greater respect for the rights and roles of grandparents.

... Republicans advocate maximum flexibility in working and child-care arrangements so that families can make the most of their schedules. We support pro-family policies: job sharing, telecommuting, compressed work weeks, parental leave negotiated between employer and employees, and flextime.

... We pledge to ... restore the value [the personal income-tax exemption for dependents], as a percentage of average household income, had 50 years ago. ... [W]e want to expand the Young Child Tax Credit to $500 per child and make it available to families with children under the age of 10.

... We will remove the marriage penalty in the tax code, so a married couple will receive as large a standard deduction as their unmarried counterparts.

Educational Excellence

... Parents have the right to choose the best schools for their children. Schools should teach right from wrong. Schools should reinforce parental authority, not replace it. We should increase flexibility from federal regulation. We should explore a new generation of break-the-mold New American Schools. Standards and assessments should be raised, not reduced to a lowest common denominator. Communities should be empowered to find what works. The pursuit of excellence in education is the fundamental goal. Good teachers should be rewarded for teaching well. Alternative certification can bring desperately needed new people into the teaching profession. America needs public, private, and parochial schools.

[Parents] should have the right ... to choose for their children among the broadest array of educational choices, without regard to their income. We also support the right of parents to provide quality education through homebased schools.

... [T]he President has established a bold strategy, America 2000, which challenges communities in every state to achieve our ambitious national education goals.

... [A] new generation of break-the-mold New American Schools is taking shape. New and tougher standards and assessments are being established for what our children should know. The number of strings attached to federal school aid is being reduced.

... The President's proposed "G.I. bill for children'' will provide $1,000 scholarships to middle- and low-income families, enabling their children to attend the school of their choice.

The President has developed a sweeping youth-apprenticeship strategy ... [that] will ensure that students meet the high standards demanded of all high-school students, while training them with a skill as well.

We support efforts to open the teaching profession by reforming the certification system now barring many talented men and women from the classroom.

... [W]e oppose programs in public schools that provide birth-control or abortion services or referrals. Instead, we encourage abstinence-education programs ... .

... We also believe that powerful unions and liberal special-interest groups should not be the driving force in education reform.

... [W]e support the right of students to engage in voluntary prayer in schools and the right of the community to do so at commencements or other occasions. We will strongly enforce the law guaranteeing equal access to school facilities. We also advocate recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools ... .

For Healthier Families

Republicans believe government control of health care is irresponsible and ineffective. We believe health-care choices should remain in the hands of the people, not government bureaucrats.

We endorse President Bush's comprehensive health-care plan, which ... will make health care more affordable through tax credits and deductions that will offset insurance costs for 95 million Americans; and make health care more accessible, especially for small businesses, by reducing insurance costs and eliminating workers' worries of losing insurance if they change jobs.

... Education designed to curb the spread of [AIDS] should stress marital fidelity, abstinence, and a drug-free lifestyle. ...

Responsible families are the key to wellness. They are the best guard against infant mortality and child abuse. We support programs to help mothers and their babies get a good start in life; and we call for strong action, at all levels of government, to enforce parental responsibility with regard to alcohol, drugs, and neglect.

Ending Dependency

Welfare is the enemy of opportunity and stable family life. ... Today's welfare system is anti-work and anti-marriage. ... Republican governors and legislators in several states have already launched dramatic reforms, especially with workfare and learnfare. Welfare can no longer be a check in the mail with no responsibility.

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