THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Thursday, September 30, 1999
CALLING FOR ACCOUNTABILITY AND INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC EDUCATION
"We must not only invest more in our public schools - we must demand more from them."
President Bill Clinton
Thursday, September 30, 1999
Today, in Palisades, New York, President Clinton addressed governors, business leaders, and education leaders at the 1999 National Education Summit The President outlined his three-part agenda for building a world-class school system: high standards; accountability for results; and investment in proven strategies. The President urged states and localities to redouble their efforts to fix chronically failing schools, and called on education leaders to resist efforts in Congress to cut education spending.
Urging States to Move Ahead on Standards-Based Reform. A national consensus has emerged on the key role of standards in school improvement: 48 of the 50 states have developed statewide standards and have embraced standards-based reform as an effective strategy. However, only 19 states currently use public rating systems to identify low-performing schools, and only 16 apply sanctions to failing schools. Today, President Clinton urged states to take the next step in standards reform by adopting measures to hold schools accountable for results and to turn around failing schools.
Showing National Leadership on School Accountability. President Clinton has sent to Congress his Education Accountability Act, a proposal which requires states and school districts to comply with the following accountability measures in order to receive federal funds:
- identify failing schools and make critical investments to turn them around, or reconstitute or close chronically under-performing schools;
- employ qualified teachers assigned in their field of expertise;
- institute discipline codes;
- issue school report cards, and
- end social promotion by making sure students get the help they need to succeed
Giving Schools the Tools They Need to Succeed. Along with high standards and accountability, the President emphasized the importance of investing in proven strategies which raise student achievement, such as:
- improving teacher quality;
- providing opportunities for extended learning in after-school and summer school programs;
- offering options for public school choice; and
- reducing class size in the early grades
Calling on Congress to Get Serious about Education. Despite the national urgency of education reform, Congress has failed to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the principal vehicle for federal education programs. In addition, last week the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations subcommittee passed a bill that underfunds a host of education priorities and provides none of the funding requested by the President to turn around failing schools. President Clinton again called on Congress get serious about education and enact legislation that both invests in our schools and holds them accountable for results.
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