Dole Calls for Student Searches, Drug Testing

Dole Calls for Student Searches, Drug Testing
Posted by FoM on September 22, 1999 at 10:06:52 PT
Source: USA Today
Elizabeth Dole, framing her education agenda around a reminiscence of her own teaching days, called Wednesday for parent-approved locker and backpack searches and drug testing of students. ''For drugs and weapons, I say: there will be no place to hide."
In remarks prepared for an afternoon speech at Melrose High School outside Boston, the Republican presidential candidate also proposed a new tax credit to encourage private support for public and private schools. And she recycled proposals from the Republican Congress for ''education savings accounts'' and for freeing up federal education funds from federal mandates. ''As president, I will allow states and local school districts to choose how most federal money is spent, as long as they set, measure, and reach goals for student achievement. At last, schools will be responsible for student performance, not paperwork,'' Dole said. Dole outlined her proposals at the same high school where she was a student teacher in 11th grade history for the 1959-60 academic year, when she was also earning a master's degree at Harvard. In her joint autobiography with her husband, former Sen. Bob Dole, Elizabeth Dole called the foray into teaching a ''vocational insurance policy'' in case ''the lure of government'' didn't turn into a career. As an example of the local control she is advocating, Dole recalled picking through dusty Police Department files to assemble a lesson plan on the Boston police strike of 1919. ''I didn't choose this lesson because it was mandated by the state or by Washington,'' she said. The growing student population and teacher retirements over the next decade will necessitate the recruitment of some 2 million new teachers, Dole said. She called for merit pay for teachers and said states should ''broaden their uses of alternative teacher certification.'' ''Let's give mid-career professionals, academics, and our best college graduates a clearer path to working and excelling in our public schools,'' Dole said.She brought with her Wednesday a 600-plus-page copy of what she called ''the Clinton-Gore'' Elementary and Secondary Education reauthorization bill. ''I think somebody wasn't listening to the teacher about keeping his work short and to the point,'' Dole said. ''This would be a joke if our system were working - but it's no joke. This bundle of bureaucracy is a nightmare for every school administrator, teacher, and student trapped in the infrastructure it has created.'' Despite the $100 billion spent on federal education programs over the past 35 years, Dole said, ''we have achieved no real gains in test scores and our international educational rankings have plunged into the cellar of the industrial world.'' In what aides described as the first installment of her education platform, Dole proposed: Creating a $1,000 per-year tax credit for individuals who donate to educational foundations helping low-income students in public and private schools through grade 12. Giving parents detailed performance information by posting school-by-school results on the Internet. Increasing tax-free contribution limits for education savings accounts to $3,000 a year to help middle- and low-income parents pay for a child's private school tuition or college education. Requiring that students' disciplinary records follow them to every school they attend, in order to ''protect the entire school community and make sure that troubled students get the help they need.'' Allowing teachers and administrators, with parental consent, to search student lockers and bookbags for weapons and drugs. Unlike her rival for the GOP nomination, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, Dole did not spell out how exactly she would leverage federal dollars against failing schools. Bush, earlier this month, detailed a formula for measuring student performance, rewarding good schools, and stripping bad schools of federal support. 09/22/99- Updated 10:35 AM ETCopyright 1999 Associated PressDole Promises Crusade Against Illegal Drug Use - 8/23/99
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