Al Gore on School Choice

Bush’s vouchers are “educational roulette”

Gore said Bush’s voucher plan would make Washington “a national private school headmaster.” Because not all students would receive help from vouchers, the plan amounts to “education roulette,” he said.

Gore also made his first remarks about a study released this week by the RAND Corporation, that speculated that the state test scores might have been artificially inflated by, among other things, a practice known as teaching to the test, or drilling that helps students prepare for specific types

Source: Kevin Sack, NY Times Oct 26, 2000

Bush proposes more for vouchers than for public schools

GORE [to Bush]: Governor Bush is for vouchers. And in his plan, he proposes to drain more money, more taxpayer money, out of the public schools for private school vouchers than all of the money that he proposes in his entire budget for public schools themselves. And only one in 20 students would be eligible for these vouchers, and they wouldn’t even pay the full tuition to private school.

BUSH: First of all, vouchers are up to states. If you want to do a voucher program in Missouri, fine. I’m a governor of a state and I don’t like it when the federal government tell us what to do. I believe in local control of schools.

GORE: Under your plan, Governor Bush, states would be required to pay vouchers to students, to match the vouchers that the federal government would put up. Under his plan, if a school was designated as failing, the kids would be trapped there for another three years, and then some of them would get federal vouchers, and the state would be forced to match that money.

Source: St. Louis debate Oct 17, 2000

Overempasized restrictions of Bush’s education plan

Gore suggested Bush’s education plan would force states to give parents whose children are in failing schools vouchers to send their children to private schools. Bush’s plan offers more choices than that, including public schools or tutoring. Gore also said that when a school is found to be failing under Bush’s plan, “kids would be trapped there for another three years” before anything is done. He suggested that his own plan would [act] right away; Gore’s plan in fact would take two years.
Source: Associated Press analysis of St. Louis debate Oct 17, 2000

Vouchers cause public schools to have 9:30 lunch & no desks

Governor Bush is in favor of vouchers, which take money away from public schools and give them to private schools that are not accountable for how the money is used and don’t have to take all applicants. I went to a school in Dade County Florida where the facilities are so overcrowded, the children have to eat lunch in shifts with the first shift for lunch starting at 9:30 in the morning.

[And I got a letter from a student in] Sarasota High School. Her science class was supposed to be for 24 students. She is the 36th student in that classroom, sent me a picture of her in the classroom. They can’t squeeze another desk in for her, so she has to stand during class. I want the federal government, consistent with local control and new accountability, to make improvement of our schools the number one priority so [that students] will have a desk and can sit down in a classroom where she can learn.

Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Spend resources rebuilding public schools

Source: Boston Globe, p. A24 Oct 3, 2000

Yes, poor parents in failing schools might like vouchers

Al Gore, the situational ethicist, recently said: “If I was the parent of a child who went to an inner-city school that was failing. I might be for vouchers, too.”
Source: Boston Globe editorial by George F. Will, p. A22 Aug 31, 2000

Invest in schools; don’t drain them via vouchers

It’s not just about more money. It’s about higher standards, accountability -- new ideas. But we can’t do it without new resources. I will invest far more in our schools - in the long-run, a second-class education always costs more than a first-class education.

And I will not go along with any plan that would drain taxpayer money away from our public schools and give it to private schools in the form of vouchers.

Source: Speech to the Democratic National Convention Aug 18, 2000

Lieberman experiments with vouchers; Bush destroys with them

A teacher asked Gore & Lieberman what they would do about education vouchers, a tax break that helps parents of private school students and that is strongly supported by Bush. Lieberman has supported the plan in some cases. Gore said: ‘’Our administration will be opposed to private school vouchers.’’

’’Al Gore and I stand shoulder to shoulder,’’ Lieberman piped in. While the two men may disagree in private, ‘’when President Gore decides, believe me, Vice President Lieberman will support

Source: Susan Milligan, Boston Globe, p. A1 Aug 10, 2000

Parents in failing schools can’t wait: Shut down & re-open

Q: What do you tell a mother in Cleveland who has a voucher [where they’re legal]. Are you saying that voucher program shouldn’t exist in Cleveland?

A: I don’t want to comment on the legalities of specific court challenges that are underway. But let me answer your question in a different way. I don’t think that we can tell any parent in this country that they ought to keep their children in a failing school for one more day. They cannot wait. And that’s why I have proposed shutting down every failing school, and reopening it with a new principal, with full peer review of all the teachers; new resources; and a new school plan to make that school a success.

Now the difference between Governor Bush and myself is this: I would shut down failing schools and reopen them. He would leave the failing school in place, and take money away from the school, and try to convince the parents that it’s enough for them to go and pay tuition at a private school, when it’s not.

Source: PBS Frontline interview, “The Battle Over School Choice” May 23, 2000

For-profit schools OK within public system

Q: What about allowing companies to have for-profit charter schools?

A: I ‘m not sure we have enough evidence on the outcomes yet, I’d like to know more. Certainly a lot of communities are looking actively at that option but the point is to give them the option to start charter schools according to standards that insure that they’re not going to be [bad]. But by and large, if we give that new competition within the public school system, we’re going to see a lot more dynamism and change.

Source: PBS Frontline interview, “The Battle Over School Choice” May 23, 2000

Says Bush’s “choice” sends kids to bad public schools

The people of Texas deserve better than a pre-school participation rate 28% below the national average; The people of Texas deserve better than 40,000 teacher vacancies. The people of Texas deserve better than a shortage of 12,000 new classrooms. Here in Texas, when Bush took office, he tried to let schools escape the state’s requirement for smaller class sizes. Bush’s national accountability agenda proposes to drain public money away from public schools with private school vouchers. In fact, his answer for failing schools is to take away a major portion of their funding, and allow it to be used for private schools through vouchers--giving parents a fraction of what private tuition really costs, and giving taxpayer dollars to schools that are accountable to no one. Bush says he’s for public school choice - but since he does nothing to rebuild crumbling schools or reduce class size, his idea of public school choice is to send more children to school in antiquated, overcrowded classrooms.
Source: Speech to National Conference of Black Mayors, Dallas TX Apr 28, 2000

Choice & competition only within public & charter schools

Gore believes in more choice and competition within the public school system. Gore would triple the number of Charter Schools and put forward a plan to bring universal public school choice and reforms targeted to helping all children reach high standards to 100 of the lowest-performing school districts in America. Gore opposes private school vouchers, which funnel public money into private schools that are not accountable.
Source: Press release for Conference of Black Mayors Apr 28, 2000

Give parents choice in choosing public schools

Al Gore has fought to put 100,000 new teachers in the classroom; for tougher standards to make sure our children are learning; to give parents more choice in choosing public schools. Now, for the first time, reading scores in the key grades of 4th, 8th and 12th are going up across America. And Gore has a plan to bring revolutionary improvements to our schools: Smaller class sizes. Higher standards for teachers and students. Rebuilding crumbling schools. Turning around failing schools.
Source: Television advertisement Mar 21, 2000

Increase public school aid by 50% instead of vouchers

Q: How would you improve the quality of inner city public schools without vouchers?
A: No child in this country should be trapped in a failing school. Bringing about revolutionary improvements in our public schools has to be the number one priority for investment in the future. I never supported vouchers... because they would drain money away from our public schools at a time when we ought to be increasing the federal investment in public schools and I propose to increase it by more than 50%.
Source: Democrat Debate in Des Moines, Iowa Jan 17, 2000

No experimental vouchers

Gore [does not] support school vouchers on an experimental basis. “I want you to know I have never been for vouchers,” Gore said.
Source: Ann Scales, Boston Globe, p. A16 Sep 26, 1999

More choice, more local control, within public schools

Neither Gore nor aides would say how much his proposals might cost. Gore said, “Every one of these proposals will be fully paid for within a balanced budget.”
Source: Boston Globe, p. A12, “Gore details plan” May 17, 1999

Shut failing schools; then re-open & turn them around

Every state and every school district should be required to identify failing schools, and work to turn them around - with strict accountability for results, and strong incentives for success. And if these failing schools don’t improve quickly, they should be shut down fairly and fast, and when needed, reopened under a new principal with a full peer evaluation of every teacher, intensive training for those who need it, and fair ways to improve or remove low-performing teachers.
Source: Commencement address: Graceland College, Iowa May 16, 1999

Against vouchers; build up public schools instead

[Congress is] pushing a wrong-headed voucher proposal that would drain precious resources from our public schools, and would barely benefit the students who need help the most. [Congress’ plan] would be worth a mere $7 a year for families with children in public schools, while giving $37 a year to families with children in private schools. Tell your Senators to reject this approach. Instead, let’s pass the President’s plan to build up our public schools, not tear them down.
Source: Speech to National PTA, “Protecting Our Children” Mar 23, 1998

Other candidates on School Choice: Al Gore on other issues:
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