Education

Ballot Box

September 16, 1992 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

President Bush and Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas have savaged each other’s education policies in recent weeks, and both made inaccurate statements in the heat of battle.

Mr. Clinton charged in a Sept. 30 speech at a Maryland community college that Mr. Bush has tried to cut student aid.

“If Congress had let him get away with it, George Bush would have cut off Pell Grants for 400,000 students this year alone,’' Mr. Clinton said. “He tried to change the law so, if you make $10,000 a year, you’re too rich for a college grant from the federal government, even though, if you make $300,000, you’ll still be sure to get a capital-gains tax cut.’'

Mr. Bush did not propose cutting off all grants to students from families making more than $10,000 a year, but did propose cutting back on such students’ aid in order to provide larger grants to the neediest students, a plan that analysts estimated would cost 400,000 students their grants.

Mr. Clinton also charged that Mr. Bush had proposed cutting the deficit by increasing interest on student loans, an idea that was an option the Administration offered in a midyear budget report.

The Bush campaign counterattacked with charges that Arkansas students’ scores on achievement tests have declined during Mr. Clinton’s tenure.

According to the state education department, scores on state competency tests and nationally normed tests have risen steadily during the past decade. However, students’ scores on college-entrance exams are stagnant, and are low compared with other states.

At a Sept. 2 news conference, Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander said Mr. Clinton “must have mixed up his plans with our plans.’'

“Under four years of President Bush, more college students received federal loans and grants than ever before,’' Mr. Alexander said. “Spending on Pell Grants is up 50 percent in four years.’'

“We have moved to make grants and loans available to working people who take one course at a time,’' he continued. “The Education Department, and principally grants and loans for college students, gets the largest increase’’ in the President’s fiscal 1993 budget proposal.

While it is true that the Education Department would fare far better under the 1993 budget plan than other domestic agencies, and that the plan includes substantial hikes for some student-aid programs, half of the overall spending increase would go toward vouchers and the America 2000 education strategy.

Pell Grant spending has not quite climbed 50 percent during Mr. Bush’s tenure, as Mr. Alexander asserted. The program received $4.5 billion in fiscal 1989 and $5.4 billion in 1992. Mr. Bush proposed $6.3 billion for 1993.

While the Administration did propose extending aid to less-than-half-time students, the proposal was made months after lawmakers had included the idea in pending legislation.

And Mr. Clinton has not proposed forgiving $63 billion in currently outstanding loans, as Mr. Alexander claimed--although the Democrat has not explained how he would finance his plan to offer loans that could be repaid through community service.

Rep. William D. Ford, D-Mich., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, issued a blistering statement Sept. 3 challenging some of the Administration’s statements on student aid.

While the amount of aid may have increased, and more students are receiving it, Mr. Ford said, the amount of aid available has decreased in constant dollars.

Mr. Ford’s statement began with a remarkably nasty swipe at Mr. Alexander.

“When the Secretary was first appointed he had the excuse of inexperience for his erroneous statements,’' Mr. Ford said. “Now, one can only conclude that he is either a very slow learner or one who deliberately ignores the facts.’'

On Sept. 9, President Bush personally went on the attack in a campaign speech devoted to education policy.

Speaking at a high school in Norristown, Pa., Mr. Bush said that assertions he has cut education programs are “flat wrong.’' He said he has proposed “record increases’’ and that federal education spending has increased at a more rapid rate than state and local spending during his tenure.

The $1.6 billion increase Mr. Bush proposed for the Education Department in his 1993 budget would indeed be one of the largest ever. However, federal statistics indicate that the percentage of education funds provided by the federal government has decreased.

Mr. Bush also attacked Mr. Clinton’s record in Arkansas, asserting that the state ranks 48th in the percentage of adults with high school diplomas and “dead last’’ in the percentage of adults with college degrees.

But it is also true that both graduation rates and the percentage of students who go on to college have increased significantly during Mr. Clinton’s tenure.--J.M.

A version of this article appeared in the September 16, 1992 edition of Education Week as Ballot Box

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Data Webinar
Education Insights with Actionable Data to Create More Personalized Engagement
The world has changed during this time of pandemic learning, and there is a new challenge faced in education regarding how we effectively utilize the data now available to educators and leaders. In this session
Content provided by Microsoft
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Accelerate Learning with Project-Based Learning
Earlier this year, the George Lucas Educational Foundation released four new studies highlighting how project-based learning (PBL) helps accelerate student learning—across age groups, multiple disciplines, and different socio-economic statuses. With this year’s emphasis on unfinished
Content provided by SmartLab Learning
School & District Management Live Online Discussion Principal Overload: How to Manage Anxiety, Stress, and Tough Decisions
According to recent surveys, more than 40 percent of principals are considering leaving their jobs. With the pandemic, running a school building has become even more complicated, and principals' workloads continue to grow. If we

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education California Makes Ethnic Studies a High School Requirement
California is among the first in the nation to require students to take a course in ethnic studies to get a diploma starting in 2029-30.
4 min read
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Democratic Assembly members, from left, James Ramos, Chris Holden Jose Medina, and Rudy Salas, Jr., right, huddle during an Assembly session in Sacramento, Calif. Medina's bill to make ethnic studies a high school requirement was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
Education California Requires Free Menstrual Products in Public Schools
The move comes as women’s rights advocates push nationwide for affordable access to pads, tampons, and other items.
1 min read
Tammy Compton restocks tampons at Compton's Market, in Sacramento, Calif., on June 22, 2016. California public schools and colleges must stock their restrooms with free menstrual products under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.
Tammy Compton restocks tampons at Compton's Market, in Sacramento, Calif., on June 22, 2016. California public schools and colleges must stock their restrooms with free menstrual products under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Friday, Oct. 8, 2021.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP
Education Florida to Dock School District Salaries for Requiring Masks
Florida is set to dock salaries and withhold funding from local school districts that defied Gov. Ron DeSantis' ban on mask mandates.
2 min read
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021, at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Education More Than 120,000 U.S. Kids Had Caregivers Die During Pandemic
The toll has been far greater among Black and Hispanic Americans, a new study suggests.
3 min read
FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021 file photo, a funeral director arranges flowers on a casket before a service in Tampa, Fla. According to a study published Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, by the medical journal Pediatrics, the number of U.S. children orphaned during the COVID-19 pandemic may be larger than previously estimated, and the toll has been far greater among Black and Hispanic Americans. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)