Gore vs. Bush on Education
— -- Al Gore and George W. Bush may disagree on many counts, but each presidential candidate has placed education at the top of his policy agenda.
Gore, the Democratic nominee, and Bush, the Republican candidate, have both made frequent visits to schools and have even devoted weeklong chunks of the campaign to the issue.
In so doing, the candidates are only matching the public’s interest in school issues. An ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll taken in September showed 77 percent of likely voters rate education as “very important” — more than any other single issue, including Social Security, the economy, and health care.
In the United States, education has traditionally been under local control, with just 7 percent of education funds coming from the federal government. Nonetheless, Gore and Bush have laid out several changes they want to implement in the education system.
Bush has broken with recent GOP ideology on schools — Republican leaders called for abolition of the Department of Education during the 1990s — and has proposed spending $24.8 billion over five years to improve student performance.
Bush, who often says the goal of education is to “leave no child behind,” would force states to require standardized tests for students and would hold educators accountable for the results.
The Texas governor would allocate $4 billion to a “Reading First” program intended to ensure that all children can read by the end of the third grade. And like his opponent, Bush is calling for greater federal spending on teacher training.
Gore proposes boosting education spending by $115.3 billion over 10 years, including $50 billion for a program to make preschool universal.
The vice president calls his proposal a “comprehensive approach that focuses on the classroom.” Gore would measure student performance though the National Assessment of Education Progress, a test administered every four years to a sample of students in each state.