View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 16, 1997


I am disappointed that the House of Representatives voted tonight to block my proposal for voluntary national tests in the basic skills. These tests will help raise expectations for our students, provide clear standards of achievement in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math, and give parents the tools they need to measure the progress their children are making. They will help our students learn and our schools continue to improve.

Yet the House of Representatives tonight cast a vote for the status quo and against better schools. The same old forces that have resisted education reform over the past decade came together to defeat high national standards in the basics. They have voted against a plan to improve our schools by raising standards, empowering parents and increasing accountability.

The House vote is unacceptable, and it will not stand. Last week, by a bipartisan vote of 87-13, the Senate endorsed my plan for voluntary national tests to help students master the basics, and embraced my proposal to place them under the control of the independent, bipartisan National Assessment Governing Board. My Administration will work hard to make sure that the final legislation reflects the bipartisan support of the Senate and the broad support of the American people.