October 11, 1995
An Open Letter to Parents: In order for use to ensure that all our children have their shot at the American dream, we need to empower them with the technological literacy they'll need to succeed in a new and ever-changing information economy. By 2000, 60% of the new jobs in America will require advanced technological skills. Unfortunately, only 20% of our workforce possesses these skills today.
We have a long way to go, but there is no better place to start than in our schools. While our workplaces are moving swiftly into the information age, our classrooms are not keeping pace.
Today, millions of children have more contact with technology in an afternoon at the video arcade than they do all year in school. We need to change that. We need companies to develop software that is as exciting to learn from as video games like Mortal Kombat are to play. We need schools equipped with the right technology.
If we fail to ensure that all our children are technologically literate, our nation will be poorer economically and spiritually. We will allow our nation to face a new divide -- the divide between those children who have access to technology and those who never have.
That is why we are calling on parents, teachers, leading CEOs and others to join us in a new national mission. Today, we set a new challenge for America: As we enter the 21st century, every young person should enter the workforce technologically literate.
The four pillars of our challenge are quite simple:
Last month we demonstrated how citizens and corporations can work together to meet this national challenge. Through the private sector, by the end of this school year all K-12 schools in California will have access to a world of knowledge via the Internet, and fully 20% of the classrooms will be connected to the information superhighway.
- Modern computers and learning devices will be accessible to every student.
- Classrooms will be connected to one another and to the outside world.
- Teachers will be ready to use and teach technology.
- Educational software will be an integral part of the curriculum -- and as engaging as the best video game.
But California is only the beginning. On Tuesday, we discussed these issues with corporate CEOs, including Ted Turner, George Lucas, Michael Eisner and Gerald Levin and asked for their input on how we can best develop a public-private plan to ensure that all our children are ready for the 21st century. Please write to us with your ideas and join us in meeting this national challenge.
Bill Clinton, President@Whitehouse.gov and
Al Gore, Vice.President@Whitehouse.gov
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