Federal

Gore Stumps in Iowa With Focus on Education Themes

By Joetta L. Sack — May 26, 1999 3 min read

Vice President Al Gore has mapped out an education agenda that, perhaps not surprisingly, closely resembles President Clinton’s ideas on teacher quality.

In what many termed his first major policy address of the 2000 presidential campaign, Mr. Gore stressed the need for more teachers, more frequent licensing tests, and stronger discipline measures in schools during a May 16 commencement speech at Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa.

“We must improve teacher quality and elevate the teaching profession by setting high standards for teachers and giving them intensive support,” he said. “This whole process must begin with respect, honor, and appreciation for America’s teachers.”

The speech offered a glimpse at Mr. Gore the candidate at a time when his campaign has come under criticism in some quarters as lacking focus. The vice president stopped at Graceland College during a two-day sweep of Iowa, the site of the first presidential caucuses. The trip also included the opening of a Gore campaign office in Des Moines.

Although Mr. Gore has not yet officially announced his candidacy for the 2000 Democratic nomination, the vice president has had a hand in several prominent education events in recent weeks. In well-publicized appearances, he has named recipients of federal after-school grants, announced school improvement funding for California at a White House ceremony, and unveiled an initiative--Boost4kids--that would cut federal and state bureaucracy and work with community groups to better provide health and education services to needy children. In a controversial move, he also announced results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress earlier this year.

The vice president also visited Charlestown High School in Massachusetts on May 17 to further discuss his ideas.

Teacher Testing

Under Mr. Gore’s proposal unveiled May 16, new teachers would face tough tests to enter the field, then be retested every five years to renew their licenses.

The ideas resemble plans promoted by President Clinton, as well as by some congressional Republicans, who plan to release teacher-quality legislation of their own near the end of this month. And teacher quality and training will be an integral part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act this year.

In Iowa, Mr. Gore proposed a “21st Century Teacher Corps” plan, under which aspiring teachers would receive a $10,000 scholarship or a $10,000 bonus if they were switching careers or if they promised to teach in needy schools.

The Gore plan drew immediate criticism last week from Lamar Alexander, the former Bush administration secretary of education who is campaigning for the Republican nomination for president.

“His proposals all add up to a national school board,” Mr. Alexander said in a statement. “Instead, we need to send federal dollars back to local school boards, parents, and teachers to let them decide what is best for students.”

But the American Federation of Teachers praised Mr. Gore’s agenda. “At a time when many political leaders are engaged in teacher bashing, Vice President Gore has praised the difficult job teachers are doing and our important role in building America’s future,” Sandra Feldman, the president of the 1 million-member AFT, said in a statement. “These proposals build on the progress we are seeing in schools where high standards and professional support are in place today.”

Mr. Gore also called for more discipline and character education in schools, smaller classes and smaller high schools, expanded tax-exempt savings accounts for college tuition, and high-quality preschool for every child.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the May 26, 1999 edition of Education Week as Gore Stumps in Iowa With Focus on Education Themes

Events

Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
How Principals Can Support Student Well-Being During COVID
Join this webinar for tips on how to support and prioritize student health and well-being during COVID.
Content provided by Unruly Studios

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Interdisciplinary STEAM Specialist
Smyrna, Georgia
St. Benedict's Episcopal School
Interdisciplinary STEAM Specialist
Smyrna, Georgia
St. Benedict's Episcopal School
Arizona School Data Analyst - (AZVA)
Arizona, United States
K12 Inc.
Software Engineer
Portland, OR, US
Northwest Evaluation Association

Read Next

Federal Congress Again Tries to Pass Eagles Act, Focused on School Shootings After Parkland
A group of bipartisan Congressional lawmakers is once again trying to get a law passed aimed at preventing school violence.
Devoun Cetoute & Carli Teproff
2 min read
Suzanne Devine Clark, an art teacher at Deerfield Beach Elementary School, places painted stones at a memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2019 during the first anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Suzanne Devine Clark, an art teacher at Deerfield Beach Elementary School, places painted stones at a memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, 2019 during the first anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal Some Districts Extend Paid Leave Policies as They Hope for Passage of Biden Relief Plan
With federal provisions having expired, some school employees have had to dip into their own banks of leave for COVID-19 purposes.
5 min read
Linda Davila-Macal, a seventh grade reading teacher at BL Garza Middle School in Edinburg, Texas, works from her virtual classroom at her home on Aug. 31, 2020.
A teacher leads a virtual classroom from her home.
Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP
Federal President Biden Is Walking a 'Careful Tightrope' When It Comes to School Reopenings
CDC guidance and confusion over his rhetoric turn up the pressure, and could overshadow progress in schools and nuanced public opinion.
9 min read
President Joe Biden answers questions during a televised town hall event at Pabst Theater in Milwaukee on Feb. 16, 2021.
President Joe Biden answers questions during a televised town hall event in Milwaukee earlier this month.
Evan Vucci/AP
Federal White House Unveils New Money to Aid COVID-19 Testing in Schools, But Says More Is Needed
Federal agencies will use $650 million to expand testing in schools and "underserved communities" such as homeless shelters.
2 min read
Image of a coronavirus test swab.
The White House announced new money to help schools test students and staff for COVID-19, but it said more aid is necessary to scale up those efforts.
E+