Vice-President Al Gore and Governor George W. Bush are both running for president, and they both have very strong views on education in the United States. Their positions on education are very different, but they both offer some good plans on reforming education. The main differences are seen in the topics of college, testing of students and the voucher program, teacher qualification, and character and discipline issues. Vice-President Gore and Governor Bush have different plans on how to boost early education and how to hold schools accountable for the success of students, but it is evident that they both feel that these issues need to be addressed firmly.
Governor Bush feels that college students will succeed more easily with advanced science and mathematical knowledge. He says that he proposes a $1000 increase in individual Pell Grants to encourage high school students to take advanced college preparation courses in both subjects. Bush stated that, “There’s no reason for us to be next to last in the world in math, and there’s no reason for us to be last in physics.” Gore too believes in the importance of college, but doesn’t say math and science are the key elements to attending college. He notes that money is what keeps kids away from college. He proposes to make it easier for parents to save for their children’s college tuition with tax-free and inflation free savings, the National Tuition Savings program. Gore wants to make two years of college free with more student loans with lower costs, and expanding Pell Grants. Gore says he believes that in the knowledge- based economy of the 21st Century; everyone who is willing to work for it must have the chance to go to college.
George W. Bush pretty much feels that existing teachers that are no longer qualified to teach effectively should simply be trained further, and he proposes to give the states money to do this. He wants to use elderly people to come in and volunteer their time to our students with using “Silver Scholarships” as an award, because he thinks that they are highly educated. However, he doesn’t realize it is really hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Al Gore on the other hand says out with the old and in with the new. He proposes to hire 2 million new qualified teachers within the next ten years, making sure each and every classroom has a qualified teacher in it. He will base that qualification on expertise and not seniority.
Gore and Bush definitely disagree on testing students and voucher programs. Bush wants to test every grade every year and to publish the results; he doesn’t believe in national tests, but proposes to make the federal government pay half of the cost for state tests. Gore believes in testing and holding schools accountable for the success of their students, but believes that high school exit exams are most important. He wants to make sure every student holding a diploma will be able to read it, thus putting an end to social promotion. While Bush favors the voucher program, Gore does not agree with the at all; he wants to practically do away with it entirely, and instead bring about new revolutionary spending programs on education.
When addressing the topic of character and discipline Bush and Gore both agree that it is vital to reform both. However, while Bush would prefer zero tolerance and classroom moldings of what he thinks to be a “distinguished character,” Gore says to build on second-chance schools, afternoon schools for teens, and smaller class sizes. Bush would rather do away with discipline-problem students by sending them to boot camps, and juvenile justice systems. Gore proposes that all kids should have a second chance at success in life, and his plans should help problem kids. Gore says his goal is, “by the end of the year 2005, every state working to close the achievement gap between different backgrounds; rich and poor; urban, suburban, and rural. A school system that holds every student, every school, and every state accountable for real results.
Al Gore and George W. Bush both believe that a child’s learning abilities and their educational foundation are taught to them within the first few years of their lives. Therefore, the reform of early education is vital to the success of our students. Bush plans to make reading and phonics top on his priority list, with making sure that teachers know how to effectively teach our kids to read. He proposes that these reading skills should be installed in the early grades of first and second grade. Meanwhile, Vice-President Gore wants to equip our 3 and 4 year olds with learning skills to absorb the reading and phonics they will be taught when they reach kindergarten. In other words, Gore feels that early education of all 4 year olds is a necessary stepping-stone to their educational success!
While Gore and Bush disagree on many topics of education, they both seem to want to reform it for the better. However, Al Gore has more realistic approaches and a more sincere touch on the issues, where as, George W. Bush is obviously trying to earn someone’s vote with his arrogant proposals on almost every issue. They both, however, seem to be lacking a proposal on how to address one very important issue though; and that is how to teach our nation’s teachers to effectively teach in a multicultural society.