Election Notebook

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

Billionaire Theodore J. Forstmann last week invited Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush to participate in a televised campaign debate exclusively on education. He promised to donate $1 million to charity if they agree.

Mr. Forstmann, a Wall Street financier who is a co-founder and the chief executive officer of the Children's Scholarship Fund, noted that the presumptive Democratic and Republican presidential nominees have both made education a high priority and said they should debate the issue publicly.

"Here, at the Children's Scholarship Fund, we are eager, as are all Americans, to hear the candidates describe their vision for American education in the depth and breadth that this debate will provide," he said at a June 14 press conference.

The Children's Scholarship Fund, created to increase students' school options, provides privately financed voucher-style grants to help low-income children attend private and religious schools.

Mr. Forstmann said that if Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore agreed to the debate, he would donate $500,000 on behalf of each candidate to the children's charity of his choice.

Ray Sullivan, a spokesman for the Texas governor, said late last week that campaign officials had not yet reviewed the proposal and could not commit to the proposed debate.

But, he said, "Governor Bush looks forward to debating on education this fall, particularly since education is his top domestic priority."

Jano Cabrera, a Gore spokesman, said the vice president was ready to accept and pointed out that the campaign has a standing offer to debate the governor.

"We'll do it, and we don't even need money as an incentive," he said.

Earlier this month, Vice President Gore announced proposals to improve the quality and affordability of child care as part of his recent emphasis on family issues.

The tax breaks and grants for states would total $38 billion over 10 years.

"For too many working parents, a child's early years are not years of discovery, but years of worry for parents as they struggle to find and afford safe, high-quality child care," he said during a June 6 event at a child-care center in New York City, where he was joined by his wife, Tipper, and the comedian Rosie O'Donnell.

Under Mr. Gore's plan, the existing child-care tax credit would become refundable for low- income families that have little or no tax liability. In addition, he would increase the proportion of child-care expenses that families could claim when filing their federal tax returns, raising it from 30 percent of costs to half. At the same time, Mr. Gore would offer tax relief for parents who stay at home to care for infants, and expand family leave for those working outside the home.

"No government program can ever replace the love, warmth, and support of a family," he said. "But as a society, we can make it a whole lot easier for families to be strong."

In addition to helping families with child-care costs, Mr. Gore also unveiled a proposed "Ready to Learn" fund that would provide $8 billion in grants to states over 10 years to improve the quality of care.

States that chose to participate would be required to adopt plans to improve health and safety standards in child-care centers and home-based child care. The plan would also demand that participating states set minimum training standards for child-care workers and establish early reading programs.

Mr. Sullivan, the Bush spokesman, said that the Texas governor has a strong record of supporting child care in the Lone Star State, and that his proposed $483 billion tax cut over five years would free up more money for families' child- care costs.

"We believe that Governor Bush's plan for reducing taxes on American families will mean more to those families than Mr. Gore's child-care plan," Mr. Sullivan said.

—Erik W. Robelen

Vol. 19, Issue 41, Page 35

Published in Print: June 21, 2000, as Election Notebook
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
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





Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >