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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 7, 1997


Legislation passed by the House of Representatives this evening provides an impressive victory for American education. It moves us down the road to high national standards and voluntary national tests in the basic skills, and it invests in providing our country with better schools and increased educational opportunities.

I am very pleased that we have reached an agreement on one of my top priorities for this year and for my Presidency: making sure that America's school children can master the basics and achieve higher academic standards. America's parents, teachers, and principals can now be sure that we are going to hold children's educational skills up to the same high standard whether they live in Michigan, Maine, or Montana.

The educational agenda I have established for the nation -- from high standards and testing to making a college education possible for every young American -- is designed to give our children the tools they need to succeed in a changing global economy. Today's agreement fulfills a critical part of that agenda, and I appreciate that politics indeed stopped at the schoolhouse door.

The Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill, which includes the agreement on national standards and tests, also helps meet our national commitment to expand educational opportunities for all students. It provides a $1.5 billion increase in Pell grants to help an additional 210,000 young people attend college, and increases the maximum Pell grant to $3,000, the highest level in history. Special education funding is increased by $800 million, funding for technology for our schools is almost doubled, and there is $7.4 billion to help our most disadvantages students master the basic skills. Goals 2000 is funded at $491 million, to continue to support school reform in every state, and funding for after-school programs is increased from $1 million to $40 million.

I am also pleased to see the House pass bipartisan charter school legislation to promote choice and accountability in the public schools and help achieve my goal of 3,000 charter schools.