|ON THE STUMP|
August 31, 2000
JIM LEHRER: Now another in our ongoing series of stump speeches. First Republican George W. Bush speaking today at Springfield High School in Holland, Ohio.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: I intend to close the achievement gap in America by focusing on principles that work by focusing on solid principles that will support our public education system all around America. We must insist on accountability in order to make sure schools work. I will work with states to work on accountability systems in return for federal money. We will work with local jurisdictions to measure three to eight. Notice I didn't say a national test. I don't think one size fits all. I don't want to be the federal superintendent of schools. I trust local people to make the right decisions for local children. We're going to focus on basic education, phonics works. We're going to retrain teachers who don't know how to teach reading. We're going to have K-2 diagnostic tools; they say we're going to figure out whether a kid needs help early in their life; we're going to provide money for extra intensive reading academies. No child should be shuffled through the systems in America if they can't read. Reading is key to success, and reading is going to be a fundamental part of education reform. We must support our teachers with more funding to train and recruit good teachers. We must expand loan forgiveness for math and science majors who teach in high need schools. And we must provide tax deductions for teachers who are forced to buy their own supplies to make sure their classrooms are well supplied across America. We must enhance school safety and promote character education in our classrooms. We must hold school districts accountable for school safety; require zero tolerance policies for violent or disruptive behavior on our class grounds. We must have a teacher protection act in America, one that shields teachers and principals from the frivolous civil federal lawsuits that plague and make it hard for teachers to enforce classroom discipline across America. (Applause)
I'll work to triple the amount of money available for character education, expand the after-school programs that will encourage the involvement of faith-based programs and charitable organizations, all aimed at teaching children the difference between right and wrong; all aimed at mentoring children that says somebody cares for you, somebody loves you in society. We must encourage educational entrepreneurship to flourish. We must welcome innovation and welcome change. I support a charter school homestead fund. I believe that ought to expand the education savings account for parents from $500 to $5,000 per student, per year, and expand it not only to higher education, but to expand it from K through 12. I believe we ought to make sure... I believe we ought to expand tax tax-free, pre--paid college tuition and savings plan and I believe we encourage states to provide merit scholarships to students who take rigorous courses in high school.
All of these proposals...all of these proposals are aimed at making sure every child has a chance to access the American dream. You see, this American dream shouldn't be limited to a few. The ability to own your own business, the ability to raise a family in a safe neighborhood; the ability to grow up in a place where values are taught -- it shouldn't be limited to a few. It ought to be available for everyone. We ought to be able to say with certainty to all children in America, if you work hard, if you make the right choices, the American dream is available for you and a good education system, a public school system that's robust and strong, based upon high standards, local control of schools, strong accountability, will help this great country achieve that dream.
JIM LEHRER: Now, the Democrats. Vice President Gore and his running mate, Joe Lieberman, attended a rally in Seattle this afternoon.
VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: All across the country, we have been talking about health care-- thank you Joe-- and we've been focused on how we can extend the life of Medicare and make sure that it's strong and healthy, as the population doubles in next decade. We've been talking about how we can expand health care to every single person in this country, starting with every child in the next four years. Let's cover all children by 2005. We have been talking about how we can double the research budget, because we need to strike while the iron is hot, when the genome has been completed, and while we're researching for a cure for diabetes, a vaccine for HIV, AIDS, a cure for cancer, we need to give researchers the funds that they need.
I talked to a nurse in Eugene I talked to a nurse in Eugene, Oregon who talked about patients in a nursing home, including one elderly gentleman who she cared for who she told me walked with a walker. And if he could afford his medicine, he wouldn't need a walker, but he had other medication that he needed to take for other ailments, and he couldn't afford the Vioxx that would make him pain free with his arthritis, and so as a result, he had to use the walker. Look, this is the generation that won World War II and brought us through the depression. What are we doing? We need a prescription drug benefit under the Medicare program. We need new competition to bring down the price of medicine for all of our families. And I don't care if the big drug companies are fighting against it, we, the people of this country, can have a prescription drug benefit if we're willing to fight for it in this election campaign. And this is a time we can make these advances -- not only because of our scientific gains, but also because we've got a stronger economy than we had in the past. Our opponents are saying we are worse off today than eight years ago, but I don't think so, because we have a lot of problems that need to be addressed, but eight years ago there were many more. I remember, do you?
VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: The deficits were $300 billion a year, unemployment was high, triple dip recessions, and thanks to you for giving Bill Clinton and me a chance to bring a new economic policy to our country. In the last eight years we have turned the biggest deficits into the biggest surpluses; instead of a triple dip recession, we've seen a tripling of the stock market. Instead of high unemployment, we have 20 million new jobs, and the strongest economy in the 224 year history of the United States of America.
But I am not satisfied. You ain't seen nothing yet. I want our prosperity to enrich all families, not just a few. We've got to invest in education, health care, middle-class tax cuts, retirement security. We have got to fight to make sure that everybody participates in the prosperity; that nobody is left behind. That is why we're out here trying to help parents and strengthen families, and improve the health care system at the same time. This election is not an award for past performance. I'm not asking for your vote on the basis of the economy we have. I'm asking for your support on the basis of the stronger, fair, better economy that we're going to create during the next four years.