1. Archive


Editor's note: As television ads appear in the Florida governor's race, they will be described and analyzed by the Times.

Candidate: Lawton Chiles, Democratic incumbent

Opponent: Jeb Bush, Republican nominee

Producer of ad: Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns & Associates

Runs: Statewide.

The ad: A red-haired mom named April Yeckley is shown hugging two little girls who scamper off as she faces the camera, brick schoolhouse in the background. "I want my kids to get the best education they can," she says. "But Jeb Bush wants to take taxpayer dollars out of our public schools and give them to private schools. I think that's wrong, and so does Gov. Lawton Chiles. He and Buddy MacKay have given parents and teachers more local control. They are raising standards, taking disruptive students out and putting discipline back in, so all our kids can learn. Jeb Bush would weaken our public schools. Gov. Chiles is working to make our schools stronger."

Analysis: This is another in a series of Chiles' ads using a third-party endorser _ a police officer or a private citizen. Bush's plan is to give school vouchers (sometimes called portable scholarships) to students in public schools that fail to meet minimum standards set by the state. The students could use those to attend another public school, presumably better, or to pay tuition at a private school, religious or non-religious. Constitutional considerations aside, Chiles says the Bush plan will bankrupt public schools. Bush says his plan will make public schools more competitive and will force school boards to cut administrative overhead. Chiles instead touts Blueprint 2000, the school reform plan intended to give parents, teachers and local school improvement committees authority to make decisions. Concern about juvenile crime helped Chiles direct more money to alternative schools for disruptive students and to school safety programs like campus cops.