THE WHITE HOUSE AT WORK
Wednesday, December 3, 1997
Akron Town Meeting
President Clinton Continues Dialogue on Race and Proposes Plan to Expand Educational Opportunity
Again, let me say that this dialogue to me is an important part of where we're going. Now, we have responsibilities in Washington, too. There is an economic responsibility. There is an education responsibility. A few weeks ago I announced that we were going to support scholarships for people who would go out and teach in educationally-deprived areas where we needed more teachers. Today, we are releasing a proposal to create educational opportunity zones to reward school districts in poor urban and rural areas who undertake the kind of sweeping reform that Chicago has embraced in the last couple of years...
President Bill Clinton,
December 3, 1997
Hosting a town hall meeting on race in Akron, Ohio, President Clinton announced that he is developing a program to expand educational opportunities for students in high poverty urban and rural school districts. The President's Education Opportunity Zone initiative reflects the important role education will play in bridging our racial differences, as was underscored by discussions during the town hall meeting. By providing competitive challenge grants to high poverty school districts which adopt tough reform measures and show real student achievement, President Clinton will build on his already strong record of expanding access to quality education to those in greatest need.
President Clinton Continues National Dialogue On Race
In launching his Initiative on Race, President Clinton called for Americans to come together and undertake a national dialogue about race and issues associated with race. Today's discussion, One America: President Clinton's Initiative on Race, The Akron Town Meeting, was the first of what will be a number of nationwide conversations.
Town Hall Meeting Focuses on Educating Our Young People
An important focus of the town meeting was educating our young people. They are the next generation of leaders, and they will inherit a nation whose face is dramatically changing. Three students from Akron opened the dialogue.
President Announces Education Opportunity Zones to Reward High Poverty
During the town meeting, President Clinton announced that he will propose a new Education Opportunity Zones initiative in the budget he sends to Congress next year. The plan will reward school districts in poor urban and rural areas who undertake the kind of sweeping reforms that cities like Chicago have adopted: Closing down failing schools, promoting public school choice, removing bad teachers, eliminating social promotions, and making sure children get the extra help they need to succeed.
This competitive challenge grants program calls for awarding additional federal funds to high-poverty school districts that (1) adopt tough reform measure that make administrators, principals, teachers and students truly accountable for success or failure before getting a grant, and (2) show real improvements in student achievement once they receive a grant.