Both President Bush and Gov. Bill Clinton have promised to achieve the goals they helped set at the 1989 national education summit: that by the year 2000 every child should start school physically and mentally ready to learn, that the United States high school graduation rate should increase from 71 percent to 90 percent, and that graduating high school seniors should be knowledgeable in math, science, language, history, and geography. BUSH
In April 1991, announced America 2000, a voluntary program to improve primary and secondary education - in part by increasing public-private partnerships. The four main parts of America 2000 are:
* New American Schools: an attempt to foster innovative educational experiments. The New American Schools Development Corporation has just selected 11 school proposals out of almost 700 submitted.
* Tougher academic standards and a voluntary national exam.
* Giving teachers and principals greater freedom from rigid rules governing how schools must be run.
* School-choice vouchers for use at public, private, or parochial schools.
Bush favors increased funding for Head Start; since 1989, his administration has increased funding for the program by 127 percent. But the president warns that "money alone is not the answer." CLINTON
Proposes spending an additional $10 billion for federal education and training programs. Promises to "fully fund" Head Start and other programs to prepare young children for school.
Proposes a "Safe Schools Initiative," to provide funds for "violence-ridden schools" to hire security guards and buy metal detectors; the federal funds would also be used to help cities and states put more police officers into high-crime areas where schools are located.
Clinton supports a national test for all schoolchildren. Also backs expanded decisionmaking authority for local schools and incentives to help schools keep good teachers, including "alternative certification" for those who take up teaching as a second career. Favors extra pay to attract teachers to inner cities and isolated rural areas, and to the teaching of math and science. Favors parental choice among public schools only.