While political pundits ponder the political impact of the Lewinsky
matter, the issue on the minds of many voters appears to be their
It's the "universal issue" says David Broder of The Washington
Post, and in this year's close races, polls are showing that
it might be the deciding one.
As Congress rushed to pass a budget before going home this Fall,
education funding stood out as the sticking point between President
Clinton and congressional leaders. Republicans and the Democrats
took opposing stands; Democrats favoring federal control of funds
and their uses, Republicans supporting local control and school
When the smoke from the budget battle cleared, both sides declared
victory. The White House said tough negotiations had ensured $1.2
billion for 100,000 new teachers and $250 million for child literacy
programs. Republicans argued they had killed a Clinton proposal
for national testing of fourth- and eighth-graders and blocked
a White House plan to create tax subsidies for building new schools.
Senate majority leader Trent Lott said that Republicans were
proud to give money to schools, but they wanted decisions on how
to use it to be made by local officials rather then the federal
government. Gene Sperling, director of President Clinton's National
Economic Council, said the White House was "overjoyed to hear
the conversion of many who now want to support the President's
Is education the most important political issue to you? Does
it get enough attention? What should be the role of the federal
government, state government and local governments?
Two education analysts; Chester
Finn, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Jane
Hannaway, director of the Education Policy Center at the Urban
Institute answer your questions.