THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 27, 2000
PRESIDENT CLINTON ANNOUNCES UNPRECEDENTED NATIONAL EFFORT
TO IMPROVE OUR NATION'S SCHOOLS BY DRAMATICLLY
INCREASING ACCOUNTABILITY AND INVESTMENT
January 27, 2000
In his State of the Union Address President Clinton will announce an unprecedented national effort to demand more from our schools and to invest more in them. The President will propose: 1) the largest-ever expansion of after-school and summer school programs, to ensure that every child in every failing school can get extra help to meet high standards; 2) the largest increase in Head Start in history, to build the foundation for our long-term goal of universal pre-school; 3) dramatically increasing accountability in public schools by doubling funding to turn around low-performing schools and rewarding states that improve academic achievement; 4) a new teacher quality initiative to help states and districts recruit, train, and reward good teachers; and 5) a substantial increase in class size funding to put us nearly half way to our goal of hiring 100,000 new high-quality teachers.
DOUBLING AFTER-SCHOOL TO HELP EVERY CHILD IN EVERY FAILING SCHOOL MEET HIGH STANDARDS. The President will call on Congress to invest $1 billion to expand after-school and summer school for students across the nation - more than double the $453 million enacted last year, and the largest expansion ever proposed. With this increase, we can enable every child in every failing school to participate in quality extended learning programs and work toward higher academic standards. Studies have shown that extended learning programs such as after-school and summer school help improve student achievement in reading and math, as well as increase student safety and reduce juvenile crime. Under the President's proposal, the number of children served will triple from 850,000 to 2.5 million children.
LARGEST HEAD START EXPANSION IN HISTORY. The President will call on Congress to increase funding for Head Start by $1 billion - the largest funding increase ever proposed for the program -- to provide Head Start and Early Head Start to approximately 950,000 children. This funding will bring within reach the President's goal of serving one million children in 2002 and builds the foundation for the long-term goal of universal pre-school. Head Start prepares low-income children for a lifetime of learning and development by providing early, rigorous and comprehensive child development. Early Head Start, created by the Clinton-Gore Administration in 1994, brings these services to families with children ages zero to three and to pregnant women. Since 1993, this Administration has already increased funding for Head Start by 90 percent. The President will also propose a $600 million Early Learning Fund to improve child care quality and early childhood education for children under five.
DOUBLING FUNDS TO TURN AROUND FAILING SCHOOLS AND GIVING STATES A NEW HIGH-PERFORMANCE BONUS. In last year's State of the Union the President proposed the first-ever national initiative to hold schools accountable for results by turning around or closing failing schools. In November, the Congress appropriated $134 million for the President's accountability fund. The President will call on Congress to nearly double this fund to $250 million to turn around failing schools. The President also will propose a $50 million initiative to provide high-performance bonuses to states that make exemplary progress in improving student performance and closing the achievement gap between high and low performing groups of students. States would be eligible for bonuses based on substantial overall improvements in student performance and significant narrowing of the achievement gap as indicated by performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
A NEW TEACHER QUALITY PLAN TO RECRUIT, TRAIN, AND REWARD GOOD TEACHERS. The President will propose a new $1 billion initiative to improve teacher quality. The Teaching to High Standards Initiative will give grants to states and districts to fund high quality, standards-based professional development for teachers. It also includes several new proposals:
- Higher Standards-Higher Pay for Teachers - This $50 million initiative will award grants to high-poverty school districts to help them attract and retain high-quality teachers through better pay and higher standards. Participating teachers would receive immediate pay increases and additional raises based on their demonstration of high-quality teaching through rigorous peer review.
- Teacher Quality Rewards - This $50 million program will reward school districts that have made exceptional progress in reducing the number of uncertified teachers and teachers teaching outside their subject area. The President has proposed requiring states to ensure that 95 percent of teachers are certified and 95 percent of secondary teachers are teaching within field by 2004.
- Hometown Teacher Recruitment - This $75 million program would empower high-poverty school districts to develop programs to recruit homegrown teachers to address the shortage of qualified teachers. Programs supported by this grant would make students aware, as early as middle school, of the opportunities available in the teaching profession; provide mentoring and teaching experiences as they progress through school; and provide financial assistance for students who enter college and pursue academic degrees with the goal of teaching in high-need communities after graduation.
- Transition to Teaching - This $25 million initiative will build on the success of the Department of Defense's Troops to Teachers program by recruiting and preparing talented mid-career professionals from diverse fields to become teachers in high-need subject areas and high-need schools.
- School Leaders Initiative - This $40 million program will fund non-profit partnerships designed to recruit, prepare and provide professional development for superintendents and principals, and other school leaders.
MORE HIGH-QUALITY TEACHERS FOR SMALLER CLASS SIZES IN THE EARLY GRADES. The President will call on Congress to continue its commitment to reduce class size in the early grades by staying on a path to hiring 100,000 high quality teachers. The President will propose boosting class size funding to $1.75 billion, an increase of $450 million over current levels - enough to fund about 49,000 teachers, nearly half way to our long-term goal. Smaller classes allow teachers to spend more time on instruction and less time on discipline, and provide more individualized attention. Research shows that students attending small classes in the early grades make more rapid educational progress than students in larger classes. New teachers hired under this program must be qualified and know the subjects they are teaching.