THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON'S COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION AND TRAINING
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.
I. EXPANDING HEAD START
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.
President Clinton already expanded investment in Head Start by $760 million from 1993 to 1995. Now, he proposes to increase annual funding by $1.5 billion by 2002 to reach another 50,000 children. At the same time as he has expanded Head Start, he has also reformed the way the program works to improve teaching and facilities for all the children who participate.
Republicans: The House Appropriations Committee has approved reducing FY 1996 funding for Head Start to over $100 million below the FY 1995 level and over $500 million below the President's request. Up to 45,000 children would be cut off Head Start in 1996 if HHS is to maintain program quality. Freezing funding at the reduced level would cut off up to 180,000 children in 2002 compared to 1995.
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.
President Clinton helped create Goals 2000, which supports state, community, and school efforts to raise standards of achievement and discipline and encourage students to work hard meet them. Forty-eight states are already participating in this program. In his 1996 budget, the President calls for nearly doubling the program, to almost $700 million, with the total level rising to $896 million by 2002. That's enough to support improvements for all 44 million children in the over 85,000 public schools.
Republicans: The House Appropriations Committee has approved eliminating Goals 2000 entirely--undermining what was once a bipartisan effort to spur bottom-up school improvement in schools across the nation.
President Clinton supports Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies, designed to provide needed resources to help students learn the basic subjects in school. The program has been reoriented to give schools more flexibility to support effective innovations that help all students read and write well and meet challenging standards. The President has already increased Title I funding by $573 million over two years, and he proposes an increase of $302 million this year, enough to serve 300,000 additional children, with further increases every year in the future.
Republicans: The House Appropriations Committee approved a reducing funding by $1.1 billion in 1996, cutting as many as 1.1 million children from the program. These children from our poorest communities would be denied the opportunity they need to reach their full potential.
President Clinton supports this initiative to make our schools safe from drugs and violence. The program funds everything from innovative anti-violence education and after-school programs to metal detectors and security personnel. The President would maintain funding at $500 million per year.
Republicans: The House Appropriations Committee cut this program by 60 percent to $200 million, depriving over 23 million students of services in 1996 alone.
President Clinton has helped initiate this challenge to the private sector to join with schools and colleges to raise student achievement through the use of computers and new learning technology in the classroom. A $50 million federal investment in 1996 will leverage hundreds of millions of dollars in private support.
Republicans: The House Appropriations Committee cut this program in half to $25 million in FY 1996, denying school districts across the country the ability to participate in this initiative, and drastically slowing the effort to leverage millions more from the private sector.
Republicans: The House Appropriations Committee approved slashing the President's request by over 50 percent to $190 million. This would seriously hamper efforts of 28 states to complete the reforms they started in 1994 and 1995; twenty-two additional states would be denied the chance to implement their reform plans to raise student skills.
President Clinton recognizes that the summer jobs program is an important first opportunity to get work experience for many low-income youths, especially those in inner cities where jobs are scarce. Without these opportunities, these young people might not otherwise have any chance to learn skills and workplace behavior during their formative years. The President has proposed financing over 550,000 jobs in the summer of 1996 alone. Republicans: The House Appropriations Committee has approved eliminating this program, with an $872 million cut from the President's request. In the summer of 1996 alone this would eliminate this valuable work experience for over 550,000 urban and rural at-risk youth.
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.
President Clinton created AmeriCorps to enable young people to earn money for education by serving their communities -- teaching, caring for the sick, making the streets safer. Already 20,000 Americans are serving in AmeriCorps, and nearly 50,000 are expected next year. He also fully supports an additional 1 million service opportunities in Learn and Serve, VISTA, Foster Grandparents, and other programs.
Republicans: The House Appropriations Committee approved eliminating AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National Service and cut opportunities in other service programs. Over 4.3 million service opportunities for youth in their communities would be abolished over the next seven years. In FY 1996 alone nearly 50,000 young Americans from hard-working, middle class families will lose the opportunity to serve their communities through AmeriCorps in locally-identified areas of crucial need such as health care, social service, and crime prevention, and to earn an educational award to help pay for college or other training.
President Clinton has supported the Pell Grant program, and increased the maximum Pell Grant in his 1996 budget by 12 percent to its highest level ever, $2,620. In his new budget, he would increase annual funding by $3.4 billion by 2002 -- enough to reach 960,000 more recipients and increase the maximum award to $3,128.
Republicans: The House Appropriations Committee approved an increase in the maximum Pell Grant by only $100, to $2440. Furthermore, the committee approved eliminating about 300,000 students from the program who would receive awards between $400 and $600 under the President's proposal. For millions of students, grants make the difference between going to college and not going, between staying in school and dropping out. For example, $250 equals approximately 25% of tuition and fees of community colleges.
President Clinton supports the in-school interest exemption, under which four million need-tested students with Stafford loans do not have to pay interest while enrolled in school and during the grace period (six months) between leaving school entering repayment.
Republicans in their budget resolution propose $10 billion in cuts in student loans. In order to achieve that level of savings and preserve unnecessary payments to banks, secondary markets, and guaranty agencies, they will not only have to eliminate any subsidy for graduate or professional students, but also hit college students with higher fees--for example, eliminating the six month grace period for interest after college or raising the origination fees that every student must pay to get their loans.
President Clinton supports expanding the new direct lending program and individual education accounts. Direct lending eliminates billions of dollars in unnecessary payments to lenders and others and makes student loans cheaper and more efficient for students, schools, and taxpayers. With the passage of the Student Loan Reform Act, 104 schools and over 252,000 students initiated the program in 1995. On July 1, 1995, more than 1,400 schools -- representing about 40 percent of all loans and the maximum allowed under this year's authorization -- began the second year on schedule. The President would expand the program to all schools and students. This program is already saving $6.8 billion for taxpayers, lowering interest rates for students, and allowing borrowers to choose flexible repayment arrangements, including pay-as-you-earn plans through Individual Education Accounts. In time, 20 million current borrowers and 6 million new borrowers per year will benefit.
Republicans have proposed legislation to reduce funds available for direct lending, prevent more schools from choosing to participate in the initiative, and cap participation at 40 percent of all loans. The committee mar k also approved a reduction in direct loan administration funds by over 40 percent in order to cripple implementation and to deny the benefits of direct lending to low and middle income students. These actions will stop the growth of cost-effective, efficient direct lending in order to keep unnecessary payments flowing to wealthy banks and unnecessary middlemen.
President Clinton supports a tax deduction for middle-class families with education and job training expenses up to $10,000. This deduction would provide tax-favored treatment to education similar to the benefits for other investments like housing and equipment. It invests in those who invest in themselves and in America.
Republicans do not support the education and training tax deduction. With its $20,000 tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent, the Contract with America includes tax breaks for capital gains, gifts and inheritances in excess of $600,000, and the depreciation of business purchases--but not for education.
IV. LIFELONG LEARNING
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.
President Clinton: Under the adult reform proposal, low-income or dislocated workers (and others) could go to a One-Stop Center for help to get jobs, and learn about the services and track records of job training programs. Then, they could use Skill Grants at their own choice among those institutions. The President would provide 800,000 Skill Grants in 1996 alone. For youth training programs, the President proposes to build on and intensify the national reform out-of-school youth. Youth programs would be streamlined and funding would be consolidated in a $2.9 billion State grant, replacing current fragmented efforts under the Perkins Vocational Educational and Job Training Partnership Act. In total, the President proposes to increase funding (excluding Pell Grants) by over $2 billion by 2002.
Republicans: The House Appropriations Committee cut funding by 50 percent below the President's request, and 25 percent below the FY 1995 level.
These cuts would deny reemployment services to 506,100 dislocated workers and deny training opportunities to 84,000 disadvantaged adults compared with the President's request. Republicans also eliminate over 550,000 job opportunities for disadvantaged youth by not funding the Summer Youth Employment Program. Millions of young people will lose the opportunity to develop adequate work preparation skills and obtain good first jobs.