THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
BRIEFING BY ANN LEWIS AND MIKE COHEN
2:53 P.M. EDT
Q Three things that Clinton said -- suggesting V-chips for the Internet, endorsing year-round schooling, and speaking favorably of high school competency tests before graduation. Are any of those new, or are those things he has said before?
MS. LEWIS: From my understanding, looking at the conversations back and forth on the V-chip for the Internet, as you know this is a principle the President has talked about for a long time, which is giving parents the tools they need, and it's the principle he referred to when he supported the -- came out in support of the V-chip. He thinks it continues to be an issue.
Second, if you go back and look at his speech on Net Day, when he gave a radio address and we did some talking about the Internet, he announced that he had asked the Department of Education and Secretary Riley to come up with a parents' guide to the Internet, recognizing that it is a wonderful resource but that many families also feel they could use some help in ensuring that their children get the most out of the Internet.
And, third, it's our understanding, and we just checked this with people at the White House who know much more about technology than all of us put together, that there is in fact technology being developed that would serve as the equivalent of a V-chip for the Internet, and we think that's what the President referred to.
Q Clinton has talked before about giving parents ways to protect their children on the Internet, but has he ever before suggested the idea of a V-chip for the Internet?
MS. LEWIS: Not that we know of, but we know -- as is clear, I think, from his wording, he is aware that the technology has been developing.
Q But has he talked about this before?
MS. LEWIS: We don't think so. We were going to try to do a huge Nexis search; that's going to take a long time. We don't remember that conversation.
Q What about the other two things -- year-round schooling and high school --
MS. LEWIS: On year-round schooling, we think he has talked before about lengthening the school year, and Mike, I think, believes that he, as Governor of Arkansas --
MR. COHEN: As Governor, he lengthened the school year, and during the time he was Governor that was something that everybody was talking about.
Q As President, has he endorsed the idea of a longer school year?
MS. LEWIS: We think he has talked before -- we think, and we haven't checked it -- in the way he's talked today, which is, there is a lot of value to the idea. Clearly, other countries do it. He also understands that this is a decision that has to be made by states and by local school boards, and that can in fact incur some cost. So it's not something that we are wholesale recommending, but he does think it ought to get serious consideration.
And the last piece he said today is that if a school board is considering that, he thinks they ought also to consider how they would use the time, and that that would be a very important part of it.
Q And high school competency tests?
MR. COHEN: He's talked in the speech to the governors and the business leaders at the Palisades summit -- education summit a little over a year ago, and said that everybody ought to have to pass a test before they graduate and before they move from middle to high school. So he has said that before.
Q You said the technology is being developed -- who is developing it?
MS. LEWIS: I can't, but we can get you more information. It's my understanding it's being developed within the industry.
Q That's like the stuff like Kidsitter and all the stuff that's already available on the Internet. There are a lot of sites.
MS. LEWIS: There are a lot of sort of monitors you can put on that. We think this may be a little more advanced, and we're trying to get more information.
Q Ann, the President didn't -- this is an incredible building for school and for education. It's got a lot of incredible facilities. How does the President reflect on the fact that he is in such a building while we have these terrible problems with crumbling schools and the Senate has rejected his plan for --
MS. LEWIS: We think he just walked into the room.
MR. TOIV: And Mike has answered that question. Mike answered it this morning, in fact.
END 2:57 P.M. EDT