The President's New Markets Trip:
From Digital Divide to Digital Opportunity

April 17 - 18, 2000


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 17, 2000

April 17, 2000

President Clinton and Vice President Gore Have a Strong Record of Working to Bridge the Digital Divide By Ensuring That Every Child is Technologically Literate. In 1994, President Clinton and Vice President Gore set the goal of connecting every classroom and library to the Internet. In 1996, President Clinton unveiled his Technology Literacy Challenge -- and has made a major commitment of resources to connect every classroom to the Internet, expand access to modern, multimedia computers; make high-quality educational software an integral part of the curriculum; and enable teachers to effectively integrate technology into their instruction

President Clinton Succeeded in Increasing Educational Technology Funding by Over 3,000 Percent -- From $23 Million in FY94 to $766 million in FY2000. This includes:

  • $425 million for the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, first launched by President Clinton and Vice President Gore in 1996, which helps states and local communities meet all four "pillars" of the President's educational technology initiative (computers, Internet access, teacher training, educational software).

  • $197 million for partnerships between local school districts and the private sector to develop innovative approaches to using technology in the classroom, including the Administration's Technology Innovation Challenge Grants launched in 1995.

  • $75 million for the first stage in the Administration's effort to train all new teachers to use technology, computers and the Internet in the classroom.

  • $32.5 million for the new Clinton-Gore Administration's Community Technology Center Initiative.

    President Clinton and Vice President Gore Also Fought for the $2.25 billion "E-rate" to Connect Schools and Libraries to the Internet.

  • The e-rate is providing 20 percent - 90 percent discounts to connect schools and libraries to the Internet, with the deepest discounts going to the poorest schools that need it most.

  • By the end of 2000, the e-rate will have funded $6.25 billion of telecommunications infrastructure and services to schools and libraries. In 1999, 82 percent of public schools (over 78,000) and 51 percent of public libraries received public funding.

    Major progress has been made in reaching the goals of the President's Educational Technology Initiative.

  • The number of classrooms connected to the Internet has increased from 3 percent in 1994 to 63 percent in 1999 (Fall 1999 data, Dept of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms," February 2000).

  • The number of schools connected to the Internet has increased from 35 percent in 1994 to 95 percent in 1999 (Fall 1999 data, Dept of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Internet Access in U.S. Public Schools and Classrooms," February 2000).

  • Grants supported by the Department of Education are training 400,000 new teachers to use technology effectively in the classroom. President Clinton and Vice President Gore are Building on Their Past Achievements Through a Number of New and Expanded Proposals this Year. Earlier this year, the President and Vice President announced specific proposals in their FY2001 budget to help create digital opportunity for more Americans, including:
    • $2 billion over 10 years in tax incentives to encourage private sector donation of computers, sponsorship of community technology centers, and technology training for workers.
    • $150 million to help train all new teachers entering the workforce to use technology effectively.
    • $100 million to create 1,000 Community Technology Centers in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods.
    • $50 million for a public/private partnership to expand home access to computers and the Internet for low-income families.
    • $45 million to promote innovative applications of information and communications technology for under-served communities.
    • $25 million to accelerate private sector deployment of broadband networks in underserved urban and rural communities.
    • $10 million to prepare Native Americans for careers in Information Technology and other technical fields.

    In addition, President Clinton and Vice-President Gore have worked to:

  • Expand access to technology for people with disabilities. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have been strong supporters of efforts to make technology more accessible for people with disabilities. Recent actions by the Federal Communications Commission will help ensure that telecommunications equipment, such as cellular phones, is designed to be accessible for people with disabilities.

  • Expand access to technology in under-served communities. In addition to the Department of Education's Community Technology Center program, which provides computer access and educational services to communities around the country, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has created approximately 500 Neighborhood Network learning centers that bring state of the art technology to publicly-assisted housing across America. HUD's Neighborhood Networks are innovative private/public partnerships that establish computer-based multi-service centers to help people in publicly-assisted housing learn critical computer skills and prepare for 21st Century jobs.

  • Ensure that the Administration makes closing the Digital Divide a top priority. In December, 1999, President Clinton directed members of his Cabinet (Secretaries of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor) to take specific steps to close the Digital Divide, including:
    • Continuing to measure the nature and extent of the digital divide by examining the importance of income, education, race, gender, geography and age to Americans' access to Information Age tools;

    • Expanding the network of Community Technology Centers to provide access to technology for those American who can't afford it;

    • Promoting applications of the Internet that will empower low-income families, such as the ability to start their own business; and

    • Upgrading the IT skills of workers in low-income communities.


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