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Education issues spark debate among campus political groups

April 3, 1997

Kevin Johnson / The Baylor Lariat

Colin Swindle, president of the Baylor Young Democrats, debates 'National Education Standards' Wednesday in the Kayser Auditorium against the Young Conservatives of Texas.

By Cindy Szelag

Lariat Reporter

The Young Democrats and Young Conservatives of Texas debated Wednesday night in Kayser Auditorium over issues in the U.S. education system, including national standardized testing, the Department of Education and school vouchers.

Jill Horton, a Temple senior and the chair of the Young Conservatives, began the debate over national standardized testing. She said standards for curriculum should be set by individual teachers working directly with the students, not by the federal government.

Horton also said teachers tend to spend too much time emphasizing the information on standardized tests and not enough on subjects they think the students need help with.

Colin Swindle, a Tulsa junior and president of the Young Democrats, said standards must be set nationally to establish an equal base or 'floor' for all students.

'Society is becoming more and more mobile and it is unfeasible for local school districts to have control,' Swindle said.

De'Shoune Walker, a Fort Worth junior and vice president of Young Democrats, argued the education department was established to aid the process of educating children and it should continue to function in this capacity.

Andy Meek, a New Braunfels junior and Young Conservatives official, said the Department of Education has not worked well in the past and it should be cut out and its duties distributed to other departments.

'Our children's education is much too valuable to be doing the same things over again,' Meek said.

Ran Nelson, a Watauga junior, debated for the Young Conservatives, saying the current education system is unsuccessful because there is no competition and school vouchers would increase competition and specialization in schools.

Lin Wayner, a Brooklyn, NY senior, debating for the Young Democrats, said instead of paying tax money into public schools, parents can receive these vouchers to pay for private schools. She said this is unfair to parents who are not able to afford private schools for their children.

'I don't agree with eroding the public school system for people who don't have a choice,' Wayner said.

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