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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 25, 1995


President Clinton is fighting for better education and training -- from Head Start and school lunches to safe schools, higher standards, and student loans -- in order to allow young people to make the most of their lives, and to provide to every American the chance to realize the American Dream. While supporting deficit reduction, open trade, and job creation, and while fighting violence that threatens our society, the President has recognized that nothing is more critical to our nation's future than ensuring that all Americans have the education and skills they need to navigate these changing times. The President has made an unprecedented commitment to strengthening teaching and learning -- expanding and improving early childhood education, assisting local communities in improving their schools, instituting bold new reforms of adult education and training programs, and expanding financial aid for deserving college students.

EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO REALIZING THE AMERICAN DREAM Improving education is important for families, the revival of civic institutions, and economic growth. In an economy where technology is constantly changing, trade is expanding, and capital is mobile, education has become the fundamental fault-line in our standard of living. Most Americans have seen their incomes stagnate over the last 15 years; the real income of the typical family has actually declined. Yet those with the most education and training have bucked the trend. In 1979, a male college graduate earned 39% more than a man with only a high school degree. By 1993, this gap had doubled, and a male college graduate out-earned his high school graduate counterpart by 80 percent. In addition, the availability of health coverage, pension plans, and other work-related benefits has become closely correlated with education levels.

A BIPARTISAN EDUCATION RECORD While bringing the deficit down by historic amounts -- over $600 billion so far -- President Clinton has also made investing in education a top priority. During the last Congress, Republicans and Democrats together enacted a historic series of initiatives to assist families, communities, schools, and colleges to have expanded educational opportunity in America. Landmark legislation includes:

This year, President Clinton went a step further by proposing incentives -- through expansion of IRAs of up to $10,000 -- for families to save for their children's college education. In addition, the President has sought to consolidate 70 programs and put Skill Grants directly in the hands of workers seeking to upgrade their education and skills.

DRAWING THE LINE ON EDUCATION Despite the bipartisan efforts last year to expand the quality and effectiveness of education, the current budget debate points to a divide between the President and the Republican Congress over education -- the foundation of our democracy and free enterprise system. Both the President and Republicans believe we must reduce the budget deficit and balance the budget, and both propose deep cuts in discretionary spending to reach this goal. But the President also believes that in order to create more opportunity, we must reduce the education deficit by expanding investment in quality education. Most Republicans disagree. Thus, while the President's balanced budget proposal launches an all-out effort to expand educational opportunities, the GOP budgets drastically decrease educational opportunity.

THE EDUCATION GAP BETWEEN THE BUDGETS The Republican budget resolution slashes education and training by $36 billion for 1995 to 2002 (including $10 billion in loan benefits to students). On July 24, the House Appropriations Committee took the first step towards making this budget resolution a reality, by cutting key education and training initiatives. By contrast, the President's budget increases investment in these same areas by $40 billion over seven years. As a result, there is a major education gap between the President's proposal and the Republicans'.

President Clinton will fight to expand investments in quality education, and he will fight against efforts to reduce, gut, or eliminate key investments in education and job training. Following is a brief outline of the fundamental differences between the President's approach to education and the Republican approaches to education -- from pre-school through post-secondary education.

President Clinton has made expanding and improving pre-schooling the starting point for helping families give their children a good start on the right course. Republicans would slash these investments.

II. IMPROVING ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION President Clinton has lent national support to local schools and communities working to improve the quality of their education by rigorously teaching the basics, making schools safe and drug-free, promoting increased parental involvement, raising student achievement and discipline, getting technology into the classroom, and providing opportunities to go from school to college or work. Republicans would eliminate national support for local educational improvement, leaving students without crucial resources and assistance they need to succeed.

III. INCREASING ACCESS TO POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION Assistance with financial aid to deserving college students is an investment in America's future and helps families give their children a chance to make the most of their lives. Now more than ever, post-secondary education and job training are the gateway to America's middle class. Studies show that for every year of training a person gets after high school, his or her earnings rise by 6 to 12 percent. After 15 years in which college costs increased far faster than inflation but family incomes stagnated, President Clinton has initiated historic efforts to expand college access. Republican proposals would devastate access to post-secondary grants and loans, and to job training, setting back college access by years if not decades.

In order to maintain good job prospects throughout their lives in a fast- changing economy, Americans need the opportunity to upgrade their education and skills regularly. President Clinton wants to support lifelong learning by reforming job training programs and putting resources and information directly into workers' hands. Republicans just want to slash job training.