The White House at Work

Monday, April 21, 1997
President Clinton and Vice President Gore Participate in NetDay

A CHALLENGE TO CONNECT EVERY CLASSROOM TO THE INTERNET. Last year, President Clinton challenged America to connect every classroom and library to the Internet by the year 2000, with modern computers, educational software, and teachers that are as comfortable with a computer as they are with a chalkboard. This effort will ensure that, for the first time in our history, children from rural, suburban, and inner city schools will have the same access to the same universe of knowledge.

AMERICA HAS MADE GREAT STRIDES. To help achieve this goal, the President and Vice President launched a $2 billion, five-year Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, with $200 million in funding approved in 1996. In the last two years, the percentage of classrooms connected to the Internet has quadrupled, and the percentage of schools connected to the Internet has almost doubled, jumping from 35% to 65%.

TODAY, PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCE NEW ADMINISTRATION ACTIONS TO MAKE EVERY CHILD TECHNOLOGICALLY LITERATE. Following today's announcement, the President and Vice President will conduct a video-conference from the Oval Office with children in Connecticut and NetDay volunteers in Los Angeles.

TODAY'S ANNOUNCEMENT BUILDS ON THE SUCCESS SINCE THE FIRST NETDAY IN 1996. Since last year, NetDay has spread across the country like wildfire, ensuring that thousands of schools are wired for the Internet. In 1996, an estimated 250,000 volunteers wired 50,000 schools as a first step towards Internet access. AmeriCorps has also played an important role in this effort. And organizers report that -- today alone -- NetDay activities are occurring in more than 40 states. In Florida, for example, NetDay volunteers are expected to wire 500 schools, putting Florida half-way to its goal of wiring 100% of its public and private schools.


PRESIDENT AWARDS NEW TECHNOLOGY GRANTS TODAY. Today, President Clinton will announce that 10 states and territories had been awarded $11.8 million in grants under the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, administered by the Department of Education. These states and territories join 14 other states that have been awarded a total of $57 million earlier this year. Today's grants to new states and territories include:

Alaska -- $1.0 million South Dakota -- $1.0 million
Connecticut -- $1.5 million Tennessee -- $3.5 million
Kansas -- $1.5 million Northern Mariana -- $0.1 million
Nebraska -- $1.0 million America Samoa -- $.24 million
Nevada -- $1.0 million Bureau of Indian Affairs -- $1.0 million

FOUR GOALS FOR EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have challenged the nation to ensure that all children are technologically literate by the dawn of the 21st century, equipped with the communication, math, science, reading, and critical thinking skills essential for a life-time of learning and the workplace of the 21st century. They have asked the private sector, schools, teachers, parents, students, and communities to work together to achieve the President's four goals for educational technology:

THE TECHNOLOGY LITERACY CHALLENGE FUND DIRECTLY SERVES THESE GOALS. To help achieve these four national goals, President Clinton launched a $2 billion, five-year Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, with $200 million in funding approved by the Congress in 1996. The President has requested $425 million in funding in his FY98 budget. The Technology Literacy Challenge Fund is designed to catalyze state, local and private sector efforts to reach the goals for education technology.

States Play a Large Role. States are given a great deal of flexibility in their use of the funds. They are asked to develop a strategy that meets the four national goals, pursue collaboration with the private sector, target assistance to poor schools, and report annually to the public on the progress that has been made.


COMMUNITIES ACROSS AMERICA GET WIRED FROM A FIRST STEP IN 1996 . . . On March 9, 1996, President Clinton and Vice President Gore participated in California's NetDay, the first ever "electronic barnraising." The President and Vice President helped to elevate NetDay by convening a group of high-tech industry leaders who agreed to back it. They joined tens of thousands of parents, teachers, engineers, union members and other volunteers to install more than 6 million feet of cable in California's schools in a single day. Companies donated wiring kits, Internet access, hardware and software.

. . . TO GREAT STRIDES IN 1997. Since then, NetDay has spread across the country like wildfire, with major national NetDays occurring on October 19, 1996 and April 19, 1997. Today, communities in more than 40 states are participating in NetDay. Many communities are now beginning to look at issues beyond wiring, such as teacher training.

Below are just a few of the states and local communities that have gotten involved in NetDay:

Alabama: Alabama plans to wire all classrooms, media centers and administrative offices in all K-12 public schools by June 1, 1997.

California: On April 19, volunteers from AFL-CIO member unions will be helping to wire schools in the Los Angeles Empowerment Zone, part of the AFL-CIO's commitment to help wire 500 Empowerment Zone schools by the end of 1997. Organizers of Silicon Valley's SmartSchools NetDay estimate that 80 percent of the 496 local public K-12 schools will have installed a high-speed network by April 26, 1997, with the help of 10,000 volunteers. In addition, local businesses have donated 3,000 personal computers to schools.

Connecticut: In Connecticut, 4,000 volunteers have helped wire 600-700 of 1,600 schools and libraries, with support from 100 small businesses, large corporations, and non-profit organizations. Connecticut will be using April 19 to begin organizing a Youth TechCorps, an initiative to identify and recognize Connecticut children with technology skills, and provide them with mentoring, service, scholarship and business opportunities.

Delaware: During last year's NetDay, Delaware volunteers wired 70 out of 300 schools.

District of Columbia: 40 of D.C.'s 150 schools were wired in the fall of 1996, and another 30 have signed up to participate in April and May. Companies have donated laptop computers, WebTVs, extensive teacher training, and wiring kits.

Florida: Organizers expect 500 schools to participate in NetDay on April 19, putting Florida more than half-way to its goal of wiring 100% of its public and private K-12 schools.

Louisiana: Organizers estimate that more than 100 schools will hold NetDay wiring events on April 19.

Massachusetts: Massachusetts had a very successful NetDay on April 5, with 450 schools participating. During this school year, nearly 40 percent of the schools have participated, with 14,000 volunteers and $14 million worth of support from companies. AmeriCorps members will be involved in this ongoing effort.

Michigan: The Detroit Public School District has a very aggressive NetDay plan in place for their 263 schools. Of this number, 70 are already wired, and about 100 plan to wire on April 19. New Jersey: New Jersey organizers will be holding a NetDay every Saturday in April, and are planning on wiring 1,000 schools by the end of 1997. Trenton has launched an effort to become the first "wired city" by connecting every school, public library and community center.

North Carolina: An estimated 26,000 volunteers wired 900 public and private schools on October 26, 1996, something that would have cost taxpayers $13.5 million. Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the state's largest system, is wiring 110 of its 130 schools beginning this spring.

Texas: The Houston Independent School District will wire libraries in 80 schools this month, twenty each Saturday in April. For schools already wired, the NetDay concept will be expanded to include "Phase II" NetDay events focusing on teacher training and curriculum development.

Wisconsin: Organizers expect 300-500 schools to participate in NetDay on April 19.

The White House Participates in NetDay

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