Federal File: On the stump; pregnancy campaign

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Lamar Alexander, an undeclared Presidential candidate for the Republican nomination, soundly criticized the Clinton Administration's education-reform strategy in a visit to the New Hampshire State Board of Education a week before the final Congressional votes on the measure.

According to the Concord Monitor daily newspaper, Mr. Alexander "spent most of his time ... warning the board against'' the Clinton Administration's proposed "goals 2000: educate America act'' during his March 16 visit.

He said the program and the America 2000 strategy that he developed for President Bush while serving as Secretary of Education "may look like cousins,'' but are really not alike, the Monitor reported.

"I would treat [Goals 2000] about the same way you would treat a fox dressed as a duck at a duck-family reunion,'' Mr. Alexander was quoted as saying.

Mr. Alexander told the board he "may very well'' seek the G.O.P. nomination in 1996.

Schools could be cast in a central role in preventing teenage pregnancy under a proposal being considered by President Clinton's welfare-reform working group.

The plan envisions a campaign that would place a million mentors in public schools and develop a national network of school-linked resource centers.

Noting that a large percentage of teenage parents and their children wind up living in poverty, a draft document obtained by Education Week targets teenage pregnancy as a "particularly troubling'' welfare issue.

While the proposal--which could become part of welfare-reform legislation the Administration is expected to propose later in the year--would encourage abstinence and personal responsibility, it also promotes incentives to help teenagers stay in school and calls for a wide range of school-linked health, social, and educational services, including family planning.

The "national mobilization'' against teenage pregnancy would involve federal interagency coordination as well as the creation of a nongovernmental body to raise private funds for "challenge grants'' in partnership with community agencies.

The plan--which has not been approved by the working group or the President--also calls on Mr. Clinton to give talks to students discouraging early pregnancy.--MARK PITSCH & DEBORAH L. COHEN

Vol. 13, Issue 27

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