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Response to a National Education Association Questionnaire Published in the NEA Reporter

June 01, 1976

As President, I would ensure that (1) laws prohibiting sex discrimination in employment, advancement, education, training, credit, and housing be strictly enforced; (2) strong efforts be made to create federal legislation and guidelines to eliminate sex discrimination in health and disability insurance plans; (3) Social Security laws be revised so that women would no longer be penalized; (4) women have equal access to health care systems and voluntary family planning programs; (5) adequate child care be made available to all parents who need such care for their children.

The best thing that ever happened to the South in my lifetime was the Civil Rights Act and other related court decisions. Guarantees of equal participation in the political process similar to those provided in the Voting Rights Acts should be extended to all parts of the nation where minority representation and participation are clearly inadequate. We as a nation must act affirmatively and aggressively to compensate for decades of racial discrimination. This includes a commitment to increase minority representation in public jobs and policy making.

I support the concept of national health insurance. I favor a system of comprehensive national health insurance which guarantees every person as a right as much care as he or she needs, with minimum or no deductibles or coinsurance, and with cost and quality controls.

I will uphold the rulings of the Supreme Court on the use of public funds to support church-related schools.

I support the right of public employees to organize and bargain collectively. I would prefer binding arbitration for public safety employees. Under normal circumstances, I would not consider teachers in this category and would not interfere with their right to strike.

I believe public education is a top budgetary priority. The federal share of public education costs was about 8 percent in 1974. If existing inequalities are to be eliminated and American teachers provided with a decent standard of living, the portion must be increased. As President, I will initiate as a major and early priority a comprehensive attack upon the basic problems of education in America with particular emphasis on the obviously inadequate system of financing.

I am in favor of creating a separate Cabinet-level Department of Education. Generally, I am opposed to the proliferation of federal agencies, now numbering some 1,900, which I believe should be reduced to 200. But the Department of Education would consolidate the grant programs, job training, early childhood education, literacy training, and many other functions currently scattered throughout the government. The result would be a stronger voice for education at the federal level.

I will consult with NEA on matters of policy and before making educational appointments. I will seek out experts in every field of education, including NEA teacher-leaders. I will make all appointments on a strict basis of merit.

I would recommend and sign into law a measure which would allow teachers to transfer earned retirement benefits from one retirement system to another.

NOTE: The APP used June 1 as the date for this document. The original source stated that this appeared in the "June 1976" issue.

Jimmy Carter, Response to a National Education Association Questionnaire Published in the NEA Reporter Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347618

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