JULY 23, 1996
In a recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, voters said dealing with education was the most important issue of the 1996 presidential election. Both Bob Dole and President Clinton have embraced the issue in recent speeches; Bob Dole talked about education at a Catholic high school in Minneapolis, and President Clinton before the National Education Association Convention in Washington. Their speeches are followed by a debate between Secretary of Education, Richard Riley, and former Bush administration education secretary, William Bennett.
March 27, 1996:
Politicians and business leaders gather for an education summit
Browse Online NewsHour's Education coverage
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Im working hard with the Congress, but I am not going to tolerate an assault on the fundamental structure of education opportunity and educational excellence in this country. (applause) It is wrong. (applause) We have to do more to help you to make schools safe and going to and from school safe. We have worked hard but still no teacher should ever fear when he or she is in a classroom or going to or from school. No student should be so afraid, no student should be so afraid that they cannot learn.
We need to make college education even more available. Thats why I propose a $10,000 tax deduction per year for the costs of college tuition. Thats the right kind of tax cut. (applause) But I think we should do even more. I believe if you look at all the evidence, it is clear that it is simply not enough to have a high school education if you want to get a good job with a growing income, and I believe that the time has come to make two years of education after high school just as universal as a high school education is, and I believe--(applause)--I believe the way to do that is to give the American people a tax credit, every single person a tax credit of $1500 a year for the cost of going to your local community college and make it refundable so that everybody can afford to go, give it to everybody the first year, give it to everybody that keeps a "B" average the second year, let everybody at least have access to a diploma from a community college, and we will raise incomes in this country, and bring this country together. (applause) It is the right thing to do. (applause)
SEN. BOB DOLE, Republican Presidential Candidate: I say that public school parents deserve what I call an education consumers warranty, education consumers warranty, a set of assurances that they receive in exchange for contributing their hard-earned money and entrusting their children, their children to the care of the public school system, and if I am elected President of the United States, and I will be, here are some of the basic principles that will guide every education policy. (cheers and applause)
These principles will guide every education policy I pursue and every education dollar we invest. It starts with the principle that every student has a right to be safe in school. Every student has a right to be safe in school, thats No. 1. (applause)
Its just staggering to hear some of our education experts today object to basic standards of discipline in the name of childrens rights. You cant do it because it offends their rights.
Now, President Clinton has expressed concern about the problem of violent, disruptive students, but every time someone proposes clear standards of discipline, his supporters and the unions have fought it tooth and nail. We must also ensure that solid and meaningful subjects are taught in our schools. One study found that the typical American student only spends about 40 percent of study on academic subjects. Students in other developed countries spend nearly all their class time on the basics. (applause)
And finally let me say this--theres no more basic right than every right of a parent in this country to choose which school their own child will attend. (cheers and applause) President Clintons administration has done everything in its power to kill the school choice movement. And I say its time that the federal government started standing up for the parents and standing up for the children and standing up for the taxpayers of America. That is a basic difference. (applause)