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Talking Points

The House Republican Conference offered GOP lawmakers some advice on how to plug education as they headed to their home districts for the spring recess this month.

The first suggestion? Go to schools. Republican officials also encouraged members to meet with students, parents, and educators, deliver speeches, and write Op-Ed pieces on education. In fact, the message packet provided to lawmakers includes talking points as well as a sample speech, Op-Ed, press release, and "town hall" meeting notice.

In a cover letter, conference Chairman J.C. Watts of Oklahoma writes that the packet is designed "to help you to craft a clear, concise message for the upcoming recess and the next several months." In addition to education, it also has information on tax relief, the federal budget, and other issues.

The sample notice for a town hall meeting on education begins, "Dear Friend: I am concerned about the state of education in America today. Despite billions of dollars in government spending, the test scores of U.S. students remain at mediocre levels."

It says the purpose of the meeting is to hear from local constituents about the problems in their public schools and how Congress can help. "Please join me at (time) on (date) at (location)," the notice says.

The notice continues: "We are working to give state and local officials greater flexibility to spend education dollars as they see fit. We believe you know what students need to succeed rather than having bureaucrats in Washington decide for you."

Beyond flexibility, the packet encourages members to talk up such priorities as increasing the federal "investment" in education, getting dollars more directly into the classroom, increasing accountability, and eliminating waste at the Department of Education.

The House is scheduled to reconvene on May 2 following its two-week recess.

—Erik W. Robelen

Vol. 19, Issue 33, Page 31

Published in Print: April 26, 2000, as Federal File

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