Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Bush stresses literacy today in Columbus

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — George W. Bush plans to return to Ohio today to give a speech to schoolchildren about literacy.

        Mr. Bush, the likely Republican nominee for president, was to visit Hamilton Alternative Elementary School on the city's east side this afternoon, said Mindy Tucker, a spokeswoman for the Bush campaign in Austin, Texas.

        The Texas governor also will participate in a roundtable discussion about Hamilton's after-school reading program with teachers, tutors, other educators and Ohio Gov. Bob Taft.

        Mr. Bush has proposed a federal program that would have every child reading at the proper grade level by the third grade, Ms. Tucker said.

        The trip is Mr. Bush's seventh to Ohio and his third this year. Vice President Al Gore, the likely Democratic nominee, and President Clinton both have visited Columbus schools in the last two months. An Ohio Poll released Monday found that education remains the most important concern.

        The poll found that 39 percent identified education as the most important problem while 7 percent identified crime; 6 percent, the economy; and 4 percent, taxes.

        An Ohio Poll in October found that 35 percent of those surveyed identified education as the most important problem. Monday's poll was conducted before the May 11 Ohio Supreme Court ruling that the state's school funding formula is still unconstitutional.

        The survey of 857 adults was conducted April 5-22 by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.


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