President Bush said Saturday that his new education and job-training programs would further his goals of an economy with good jobs and a nation of strong families.
Speaking in a radio address, Bush said the programs would help poorer Americans pay for additional schooling and help young people stay in school.
Bush said his Lifetime Education and Training Account would make $25,000 available to eligible people who might not qualify for conventional education loans.
And he said his Apprenticeship Initiative would help school counselors and businesses to design work-study programs so needy students could remain in school while holding down part-time jobs.
Senate Democratic leader George Mitchell, in a response, said American education levels had fallen under Bush and his predecessor, Ronald Reagan.
Mitchell said that over the years American educational levels had steadily risen, but now were heading down. "That dangerous trend has accelerated in the past decade," he said. "Presidents Reagan and Bush regularly proposed budgets that shortchanged education, that tried to eliminate or cut the things that help young Americans get an education."