An Unprecedented Commitment to Education and Unprecedented Results
President Clinton's School Reform Tour will highlight the Clinton-Gore strategy of investing more in our schools and demanding more from them. Since 1992, President Clinton and Vice President Gore have nearly doubled the federal investment in elementary and secondary education while dramatically increasing accountability in education. On the tour, the President will highlight this record of reform -- and also push Congress to move on unfinished business.
Providing Quality Early Education to Nearly 900,000 Children with Head Start. The President and Vice President have expanded Head Start funding by 90 percent since 1993. Head Start will reach approximately 880,000 low-income children in FY 2000; with the President's proposed increase, it will be on the way to reaching his goal of serving 1 million children and their families by 2002. The Administration also created Early Head Start, bringing Head Start's successful comprehensive services to families with children ages zero to three.
More High-Quality Teachers with Smaller Class Sizes. The Administration last fall secured a second installment of $1.3 billion for the President's plan to hire 100,000 well-prepared teachers to reduce class size in the early grades, when children learn to read and master the basic skills. Already, 29,000 teachers have been hired through this initiative. This year's budget provides $1.75 billion, a $450 million increase -- enough to fund nearly 49,000 teachers.
Turning Around Failing Schools. Last year, the President pushed for and won a $134 million accountability fund to help turn around failing schools and hold them accountable for results by overhauling curriculum, improving staffing, or even closing schools and reopening them as charter schools. This year, the President is proposing to double the resources for this fund.
Providing Safe After-School Opportunities for 850,000 Students Each Year. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program will provide enriching after-school and summer school opportunities for 850,000 school-age children in rural and urban communities in FY2000. Extended learning time has been shown not only to increase achievement in reading and math, but to decrease youth violence and drug use. Funding for this program more than doubled from FY99 to FY00. For FY01, the President's budget calls on Congress to double funding again, by investing $1 billion to ensure that all children in failing schools have access to quality after-school and summer school opportunities. This proposal will double funding and triple the number of students served to 2.5 million.
Expanding Choice and Accountability in Public Schools. The Clinton-Gore Administration has worked to expand public school choice and support the growth of public charter schools. When the President was first elected, there was one charter school in the nation; today there are more than 1,700. More than 250,000 students nationwide are now enrolled in charter schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia. The President won $145 million in FY00 -- and has proposed $175 million in his FY01 budget -- to continue working toward his goal of establishing 3,000 quality charter schools by 2002.
Teaching Every Child to Read by the 3rd Grade. The President has challenged Americans to unite to be sure that every child can read well and independently by the third grade. In response to his America Reads challenge, more than 1,100 colleges have committed Work Study students to tutor children in reading, and more than 2 million children have been taught, tutored or mentored by national service programs like AmeriCorps, VISTA, and Foster Grandparents.
Expanding Access to Technology. With the Vice President's leadership, the Administration has made access to technology a top priority. The President and Vice President created the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund to help connect every school to the Internet, increase the number of multimedia computers in the classroom and provide technology training for teachers. They increased overall investments in educational technology from $23 million in 1993 to $769 million in FY00, and tripled funding for Community Technology Centers to reach at least 120 low-income communities. Through the E-rate program, they secured low-cost connections to the Internet for schools, libraries, rural health clinics and hospitals, benefiting more than 80 percent of America's public schools. They also increased investment in education research to ensure all children benefit from educational technology. In 1999, 95 percent of public schools were connected to the Internet -- up from just 35 percent in 1994
Opening the Doors of College to All Americans. In 1997, President Clinton proposed and passed the HOPE Scholarships and Lifetime Learning tax credits to provide tax relief to nearly 13 million Americans each year who are struggling to pay for college. The Hope Scholarship helps make the first two years of college universally available to about 5.6 million students annually by providing a tax credit of up to $1,500 for tuition and fees for the first two years of college. The Lifetime Learning tax credit provides a 20 percent tax credit on the first $5,000 of tuition and fees for students beyond the first two years of college, or those taking classes part-time (in 2003, this increases to $10,000). In his FY01 budget, the President proposes to expand the Lifetime Learning tax credit with a 10-year, $30 billion College Opportunity tax cut, which will give families the option of taking a tax deduction or claiming a 28 percent credit for the first $5,000 of college tuition and fees until 2002, and $10,000 thereafter.
Expanding Work Study and Pell Grants. One million students will be able to work their way through college because of the President's expansion of the Work Study Program, and nearly four million students will receive a Pell Grant of up to $3,300, the largest maximum award ever. The maximum award has increased 43 percent under the Clinton-Gore Administration. This year President Clinton proposed a $77 million increase in Work Study to continue to support one million awards, and a $200 increase in the Pell Grant maximum award, to raise it to $3,500.
Despite this record of reform, the President believes there is much more to be done. Throughout his School Reform tour, he will push Congress to:
Enact Critical School Construction And Modernization Legislation. School buildings begin rapid deterioration after 40 years, and the average public school in America is 42 years old. One third of all public schools -- about 25,000 schools -- need extensive repair or replacement. Record enrollments are exacerbating this problem, with 52.7 million children enrolled in elementary and secondary school today, and 54.3 million projected by 2008 -- meaning that 2,400 new public schools will be needed by 2003 to accommodate these rapidly rising enrollments. The President has proposed a plan that would help local communities build and modernize 6,000 schools and has also proposed an emergency school renovation plan that would help local communities do emergency repairs on an additional 5,000 schools per year.
Pass an Elementary and Secondary Education Act that will support high standards for all students. Standards-based reform is a powerful tool for raising student achievement and for closing the achievement gap between economically disadvantaged students in high poverty schools and their more affluent peers. The Clinton-Gore proposal to reauthorize ESEA would reinforce state and local efforts to bring high standards into every classroom, strengthen teacher and principal quality, increase accountability for student performance, and support safe, healthy, disciplined, and drug-free learning environments.
Pass a budget that invests in what works for children. The President has put forward a balanced budget that makes landmark investments in strategies that work to raise student achievement. The President's FY2001 budget would increase the federal investment in education by $4.5 billion, or 12 percent. It invests in turning around low-performing schools, expanding access to after-school and summer school programs, improving teacher quality, reducing class size, and modernizing schools. And it reflects the President's core principle that we must invest more in our schools and demand more from them to ensure that all students receive the high quality education that they need.