Dukakis's Campaign Positions on Major Education and Related Issues

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Federal Role in Education

Believes the federal government must be a "committed partner" in improving education, and that the President should be "the nation's chief advocate for our public schools, rallying governmental, business, labor, and community leaders to the cause of quality schools for all our children."

Promises "adequate funding" for federal education programs, with an emphasis on "equity programs" such as Chapter 1, handicapped education, school nutrition, and student aid. Has also pledged increased support for education research.

Has said his priorities would be: improving the quality of teaching and the status of the profession, attacking illiteracy, ensuring equal educational opportunity, and increasing student aid.

Preschool Programs, Child Care

Supports increased funding for Head Start.

Supports legislation establishing a right to parental leave from employment.

Supports, "in principle," the "act for better child care." The proposal, which died in the current Congress, would have provided federal aid for child care and set minimum standards.

Elementary and Secondary

Proposes a $250-million "national teaching excellence fund" that would provide scholarships and student-loan forgiveness to prospective teachers and establish a "national teacher corps" for new college graduates "trying their hand at teaching."

The program would also: work with states to create "centers of excellence" where teachers on sabbatical could engage in research or training; encourage businesses to give employees leaves of absence to work as teachers; collaborate with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in establishing "rigorous and demanding" standards for teachers; and establish a network of retired teachers with critical skills who are willing to return to the classroom.

Promises a fivefold increase in the number of awards under the federal Christa McAuliffe fellowship program. The program provides up to one year's salary to exemplary teachers, selected by state panels, for research sabbaticals, consultation with other schools, or development of innovative programs.

Proposes "science-education development projects" run by scientists and teachers, which would devise and research curricula and teaching methods and train teachers. The program would also "support a limited number of outstanding science educators" in each state to review teaching methods and curricula. The Education Department would disseminate their findings nationally. Costs would be shared equally by the federal government, state governments, and private industry.

Proposes a $45-million "national science teaching partnership," which would bring working and retired scientists and engineers and science graduate students into classrooms as teachers, "teacher mentors," or aides. Costs would be shared by the federal government, state governments, and private industry.

Promises to support a national program similar to his "Governor's Alliance Against Drugs," an effort in Massachusetts that includes drug-education programs, peer counseling, teacher training, and high-profile visits to schools by the governor and celebrities such as sports stars.

Opposes public aid to private schools.

Supports the concept of choice within public schools, with safeguards to ensure racial balance and equity. Vetoed state legislation this past summer that would have allowed parents in several Massachusetts cities to send their children to suburban schools, arguing that it would drain the best students and needed tax dollars from city schools.

Opposes organized prayer in public schools.

Higher Education

Has said the federal government should ensure that all qualified students have the resources to attend college. Pledges to "end the [Reagan Administration's] annual assault on Pell Grants and college work loans."

Would work with states to create tuition-prepayment plans.

Proposes a "student tuition and repayment system," or stars, that would provide college loans and allow repayment through income-contingent payroll deductions over a borrower's working life. Because payments would be pegged to income, high-earning graduates would repay more than low earners.


Pledges to encourage the creation of more local partnerships like the "Boston Compact." Under the compact, the city's business community guarantees adequate financial resources for any public-school graduate accepted by a college, in exchange for improved performance and higher standards in the schools. The compact also secures jobs in local businesses for public-school graduates.

Proposes federal "seed grants," to be matched by the private sector, for improving and creating literacy programs.

Proposes federal funding for a "citizens' literacy corps" of volunteers.

Vol. 08, Issue 08

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