Al Gore will strengthen our families with a program of revolutionary change in education. He will build on and extend the aggressive efforts since 1993 to improve our schools through higher standards, extra help to students who need it the most, and equal access to higher education. But he will also go farther - much farther - in bringing change to our schools.
"Education must become not just a period in our lives but a way of life in the 21st Century."
- Al Gore
His new agenda for 21st century education includes:
Grants to enable every state to develop and expand pre-school programs
Smaller schools and "schools within schools"
Smaller classes - 18 students per teacher in the early grades and 20 students per teacher in the upper grades
Principals empowered, advised by teachers, to hire their staff (regardless
of seniority) and to manage their budget
21st Century Teachers Corps to reward college students who choose to teach in schools that need their help
Rigorous tests of knowledge and teaching skills for all new teachers before they enter the classroom
Mentors and professional support for new teachers
Tough standards for licensing or tenure, with evaluations by teams of accomplished teachers and administrators
Rigorous but fair performance evaluations after the granting of a teaching license
Fast but fair procedures for identifying, helping, and when necessary removing low-performing teachers
Good teachers rewarded, with bonuses to master teachers, to teachers certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and to teachers in schools that have shown improved student performance
Required aggressive plans to turn around failing schools, with accountability for results and incentives for success
Reformed curricula that work for low-achieving students
More public school choice for parents
Expanded summer school for failing students
Intensified efforts to reduce Hispanic dropout rates
Every classroom and library wired to the Information Superhighway
Enhanced teacher training in technology
New educational software for all schools
Carefully screened volunteer army of on-line tutors and mentors
Zero tolerance for guns
Second chance schools where students with serious problems can get help
Increased commitment to after-school care
Codes of discipline and required meetings on the first day of school for parents, teachers and their students to sign this code
Civic and character education in every school
Family and Medical Leave Act extended to cover the first day of school and subsequent parent-teacher conferences
National Tuition Savings program tying together state tuition programs in more that 30 states with a goal of all states participating in a program that would allow parents to save for college tax free and use those savings in participating states
New 401-J accounts where employers help employees save tax free for lifelong learning for the employee and his or her spouse, or a child's college education
"Let us renew education to renew opportunity."
Al Gore believes that strengthening our families begins with bringing revolutionary change in education. The new stresses on modern family life, the changing economy that puts a premium on education, and the growth of the largest generation of children in American history all demand we make the next decade America's education decade.
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