Published Online:

1996 Presidential Candidates: Profiles and Education Policy

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments


Bill Clinton President

"At the heart of all three of the responsibilities that I said government has--expanding opportunity, empowering people, enhancing security--is your work: education."

--Speech to the American Council on Education, Feb. 14, 1995

Education: Georgetown University, B.S. in international relations, 1968; Oxford University, Rhodes Scholar, 1968-70; Yale University, J.D., 1973.

Career: Law professor, University of Arkansas, 1973-76; attorney general of Arkansas, 1977-79; governor of Arkansas, 1979-81 and 1983-92; president of the United States, 1993-present.

Education Advisers: Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley, domestic-policy advisers Carol H. Rasco and Jeremy Ben-Ami; has longstanding relationships with education advocates and theorists, ties to the National Center on Education and the Economy.

Education Record

Presidential initiatives include the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, the School-to-Work Opportunities Act, the AmeriCorps national-service program, and direct student loans. As governor, increased state spending on education, and enacted a series of reforms, including curricular standards, open enrollments, universal student testing, mandatory kindergarten, and teacher competency tests. Was a leader on education issues in the National Governors' Association; served as the NGA's chief negotiator at the 1989 education summit with President Bush and was one of the primary authors of the national education goals.

Education Platform

Enacted most of his education agenda in his first two years as president. Has vowed to protect the U.S. Department of Education and federal education programs from proposed Republican budget cuts. Has supported terminating or consolidating some education programs.

For More Information

Clinton-Gore '96
2100 M St. N.W.
Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20037

(202) 331-1996



Lamar Alexander Former Secretary of Education

"Education in America is the constitutional responsibility of the states, the social responsibility of communities, and the moral responsibility of families. ... Except when the civil rights of individuals are menaced, the federal government should never impede the capacity of families, teachers, communities, and states to decide how best to provide education to their children."

--Congressional testimony, Jan., 26, 1995

Education: Vanderbilt University, B.A. in history, 1962; New York University, J.D., 1965.

Career: Practicing attorney, 1965-66 and 1971-78; aide to former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker, 1967-68; White House aide, 1969-70; governor of Tennessee, 1979-87; president, University of Tennessee, 1988-91; U.S. secretary of education, 1991-93.

Education Advisers: William J. Bennett, Chester E. Finn Jr., Diane Ravitch, Bruno Manno, Daniel Casse.

Education Record

As secretary, drafted President Bush's America 2000 education-reform strategy, based on the national education goals, calling for national testing, innovative schools funded by the New American Schools Development Corp., and a voucher system for Title I. Proposed "GI Bill for Kids" voucher program; launched monthly satellite town meetings; declared most race-based scholarships illegal. As governor, introduced career incentive pay for teachers and principals; chaired National Governors' Association when it produced landmark "Time for Results" report; signed bill in 1982 permitting a moment of prayer, meditation, or silence in public schools.

Education Platform

Would abolish the U.S. Department of Education and distribute programs to other agencies, turn them over to the states, or eliminate them. Pledges to sign a bill establishing a moment of silence in public schools; has renewed his call for a federal voucher program. Criticizes proposed voluntary national history standards he funded as secretary as "a warped view of our nation's past." Cites his decision as secretary to limit most race-based scholarships as evidence of his opposition to affirmative action. Takes credit for stifling proposal for federal government to make loans directly to college students, which was subsequently adopted by the Clinton administration.

For More Information

Alexander for President
1808 West End Ave.
Suite 600
Nashville, Tenn. 37023

(615) 327-3350


Patrick J. Buchanan Television Commentator

"Why do we have this crisis in education? I believe the reason is that a lot of Americans have lost sight of the primary goal of education: the inculcation of values."

--Remarks to the American Association of Christian Schools, Sept. 13, 1995

Education: Georgetown University, B.A in English and philosophy, 1961; Columbia School of Journalism, M.A., 1962.

Career: Editorial writer, St. Louis Globe-Democrat newspaper, 1962-65; aide to President Nixon, 1966-74, and President Ford, 1974; communications director for President Reagan, 1985-87; candidate for Republican presidential nomination, 1992; television commentator and syndicated columnist.

Education Advisers: Home-school advocate Michael Farris, a former candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia; the Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, founder of the conservative American Family Association.

Education Record

No education record. Has championed conservative social and cultural issues.

Education Platform

Would abolish the U.S. Department of Education and its programs. Advocates "voluntary prayer, voluntary Bible reading, and even voluntary religious instruction in public schools" and "parental rights" in public schools. Has criticized the voluntary national history standards. Supports making English the official language of the United States and has proposed a measure to halt legal and illegal immigration. Opposes affirmative action.

For More Information

Buchanan for President
6862 Elm St.
Suite 210
McLean, Va. 22101

(703) 848-1996


Bob Dole Senate Majority Leader

"On primary and secondary schools alone, Americans now spend $285 billion a year. ... For that kind of money, parents have a right to expect that their children can read, write, do basic math, and display knowledge of their country's history when they graduate. But they can't."

--Town meeting speech at the Isaac Newton Christian Academy in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Nov. 4, 1995

Education: Attended University of Kansas, 1941-43; Washburn University, L.L.B., 1955.

Career: U.S. Army, 1943-48; Kansas House of Representatives, 1951-53; county attorney, Russell County, Kan., 1953-61; U.S. House of Representatives, 1961-69; U.S. senator from Kansas, 1969-present; Republican National Committee chairman, 1971-73; Republican nominee for vice president, 1976; Senate majority leader, 1984-87 and 1993-present, minority leader, 1987-93; candidate for president, 1980, 1988.

Education Record

Has often voted against spending increases for education programs. Opposed the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, AmeriCorps, and the confirmation of Thomas W. Payzant as assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. Has voted in favor of prayer in public schools and voucher demonstration programs that would include private and religious schools.

Education Platform

Would abolish the U.S. Department of Education and pass the money to state and local governments. Supports "student-led voluntary school prayer." Has criticized the voluntary national history standards and affirmative action. Has called for making English the nation's official language.

For More Information

Dole for President
810 First St. N.E.
Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20002

(202) 414-6400


Robert K. Dornan U.S. Congressman

"They are nothing more than a radicalized left-wing labor union promoting everything from socialized education to homosexuality and gun control."

-- Written statement supporting a bill to end the National Education Association's exemption from District of Columbia property taxes

Education: Attended Loyola University in Los Angeles, 1950-53.

Career: U.S. Air Force, 1953-58; Air National Guard, 1958-61; Air Force Reserve, 1962-75; broadcast journalist, 1965-69; host of the "Robert K. Dornan Show" and "Tempo" television talk shows in Los Angeles, 1969-76; candidate for mayor of Los Angeles, 1973; U.S. House of Representatives, 1977-82 and 1985 to present; candidate for U.S. Senate, 1984.

Education Record

Has consistently voted against spending increases for education programs; voted against the Goals 2000: Educate America Act. Has voted in favor of prayer in public schools and voucher demonstration programs that would include private and religious schools. Introduced a bill that would have prohibited federal funding for groups or agencies that promote or teach acceptance of homosexuality. Introduced legislation that would have repealed the National Education Association's property-tax exemption in the District of Columbia, which would have cost the union $1.6 million a year.

Education Platform

Would abolish the U.S. Department of Education. Would eliminate the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the AmeriCorps national-service program. Supports amending the U.S. Constitution to allow voluntary school prayer and backs voucher programs for private and religious schools.

For More Information

Dornan for President
Springfield Tower
6320 Augusta Drive Springfield, Va. 22150

(703) 644-2600

Internet: none

Malcolm S. "Steve" Forbes Jr. Magazine Publisher

"The National Education Association monopoly needs to be busted. The only way to do it is to give parents a choice."

--Quoted by The Associated Press in an interview, Nov. 30, 1995

Education: Princeton University, B.A. in history, 1970.

Career: Employed by Forbes Inc. publishing company 1970-present; president and CEO, 1980-present; deputy editor-in-chief, Forbes magazine, 1982-90, and editor-in-chief, 1990-present; chairman, Forbes Newspapers, 1989-present; writes editorials for the magazine; chairman, Board for International Broadcasting, which oversees Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, 1985-93.

Education Adviser:

William J. Bennett.

Education Record

No background in education or politics; runs magazine with a pro-business tilt that was founded by his grandfather. Chairman of the board of directors of Empower America, an advocacy organization founded by former U.S. Rep. Jack Kemp and former U.S. Secretary of Education William J. Bennett.

Education Platform

Would abolish the U.S. Department of Education; advocates "parental control" over education. Key campaign issue is a proposal to scrap the tax code and replace it with a flat federal income tax of 17 percent.

For More Information

Steve Forbes for President
1400 Route 206 North
Bedminster, N.J. 07921

(908) 781-5111


Phil Gramm U.S. Senator

"I don't want to be an education president. I want to be an education parent."

--Campaign statement on education

Education: University of Georgia, B.A. in economics, 1964; Ph.D. in economics, 1967.

Career: Professor of economics, Texas A&M University, 1967-78; U.S. House of Representatives 1979-84; U.S. Senate, 1985-present. Was first elected as a Democrat; in 1983, switched parties and resigned, then won back his seat in a special election. Ran for the Senate as a Republican in 1984.

Education Record

As a Senate Budget Committee member, voted for a long-term budget plan that proposed significant cuts in federal education spending, including more than $10 billion from student-loan programs over seven years. Has been a leading proponent of balancing the federal budget. Has voted against increased education spending and the Goals 2000: Educate America Act. Has voted in favor of prayer in public schools and voucher demonstration programs that include private and religious schools.

Education Platform

Would eliminate the U.S.Department of Education; pledges to send half its budget to families in the form of an education tax credit and give the other half to local school boards. Wants to repeal the Goals 2000: Educate America Act. Backs amending the U.S. Constitution to allow voluntary school prayer and supports private-school-voucher programs. Would deny federal student loans to students who fail to achieve a combined score of at least 700 on the Scholastic Assessment Test.

For More Information

Phil Gramm for President
P.O. Box 33119
Washington, D.C. 20033

(202) 467-8600


Alan Keyes Radio Commentator

"We not only need prayer in schools, we need schools that are in the hands of people who pray. Above all, we must break the government monopoly on public education."

--Campaign statement on education

Education: Harvard University, B.A. and Ph.D. in government affairs, 1972 and 1979.

Career: Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, 1983-85; assistant secretary of state, 1985-87; president, Citizens Against Government Waste, 1989-91; interim president, Alabama A&M University, 1991; radio talk-show host and columnist, 1992-present; candidate for U.S. Senate from Maryland, 1988 and 1992.

Education Advisers: Campaign has not responded to inquiries, but 1988 Senate campaign was chaired by William Kristol, a GOP operative who served as chief of staff to William J. Bennett when he was U.S. secretary of education.

Education Record

Served as an interim president of Alabama A&M University.

Education Platform

Would abolish the U.S. Department of Education, repeal the Goals 2000: Educate America Act. Backs an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to allow school prayer. Supports abstinence-based approaches to sex education. Endorses voucher programs for private and religious schools. Unlike most Republican candidates, he does not support welfare reforms that would limit benefits to unwed mothers or disqualify recipients after two years.

For More Information

Alan Keyes for President
P.O. Box 25643
Alexandria, Va. 22313-5643

(800) 792-1222


Richard G. Lugar U.S. Senator

"As a former school board member, I understand the importance of keeping school decisions in the community, and the need to protect the independence of private, parochial, and home schools. To this end, I support closing the federal Department of Education."

--Address to the Christian Coalition, Washington, Sept. 8, 1995

Education: Denison University, B.A. in economics, 1954; Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University, M.A. in philosophy and economics, 1956.

Career: U.S. Navy, 1957-60; manager of family farm and food-machinery company, 1960-67; member, Indianapolis school board, 1964-67, vice president, 1965; mayor of Indianapolis, 1968-75; U.S. senator from Indiana, 1977-present.

Education Record

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, was a key opponent of efforts to replace federal school-meals programs with block grants. Has voted for increased education spending. Voted against the Goals 2000: Educate America Act. Has voted in favor of prayer in public schools and voucher demonstration programs that include private and religious schools.

Education Platform

Would eliminate the U.S. Department of Education. Supports repeal of the Goals 2000: Educate America Act and the AmeriCorps national-service program. Backs private-school-voucher programs and voluntary, silent prayer in schools. Pledges to replace the current tax system with a national sales tax.

For More Information

Lugar for President
503 Capitol Court N.E.
Suite 100
Washington, D.C. 20002

(202) 544-3636


Maurice "Morry" Taylor Jr.

"If Bill Clinton can be elected, so can I. There isn't a single part of the job--economic policy, foreign policy, Cabinet appointments--that he's done well. It will not be hard to convince the American people that I can do a better job than Clinton."

--Campaign brochure, "Seven Reasons to Consider Morry Taylor for President"

Education: Attended Northwest Michigan Community College, 1963-64; attended Michigan Technological University, 1967-69.

Career: Plant engineer for General Motors, 1969-72; part owner of a Detroit steel company, 1974-78; marketing and engineering consultant for heavy-equipment industries, 1978-83; with a partner, purchased a Quincy, Ill.-based wheel-manufacturing business in 1983 that became Titan Tire International in 1990; serves as president and CEO.

Education Record

Has no background in education or politics.

Education Platform

Would abolish the U.S. Department of Education and repeal the Goals 2000: Educate America Act. Would balance the federal budget in 18 months by cutting one-third of the federal workforce, starting with middle-level managers. Backs current school-prayer policies and does not support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to broaden prayer rights. Supports requiring welfare recipients to work for welfare benefits. Supports making English the official U.S. language.

For More Information

Taylor Made for President
2345 E. Market St.
Des Moines, Iowa 50317

(800) 930-GOMT


Web Only

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login | Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories