View Header


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 13, 1997
                         1998 Education Budget:
            An Historic Investment in Educational Opportunity
                           November 13, 1997

Now I ask you -- and I ask all our nation's governors; I ask parents, teachers, and citizens all across America -- for a new nonpartisan commitment to education -- because education is a critical national security issue for our future, and politics must stop at the schoolhouse door.

President Clinton, State of the Union Address, February 4,1997

HIGHLIGHTS: The President's signature on the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill today, along with the education tax cuts enacted in August, take us an historic step closer to reaching the President's goal of making sure that every 8-year old can read, every 12-year old can log on to Internet, every 18-year old can go to college, and all Americans can keep on learning throughout their lifetimes. This represents the largest increase in our education investment in a generation, including the biggest increase in college aid since the GI Bill 50 years ago. The bill signed today: promotes high standards and continued development of voluntary national tests; increases Pell Grants to $3,000 -- the largest increase in two decades; expands Head Start; funds America Reads to help all children read well and independently by age 8; brings technology to the classroom; and expands choice and accountability through public charter schools.


Continues Development of Voluntary National Tests. The bill provides full funding to proceed with immediate development of the first-ever voluntary national tests in 4th grade reading and 8th grade math, based on widely accepted national standards used in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). It puts the independent, bipartisan National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) in charge of test policies and development, as the Administration had proposed. The bill provides the Administration's full request of $16 million to support the testing plan, and allows for pilot testing to begin in Fall 1998. The bill also provides for a feasibility study to determine if existing state tests can be linked to both the NAEP standards and each other.

Provides Funding for the America Reads Challenge. The bill provides nearly $300 million in new funding towards the President's comprehensive strategy for involving teachers, families and communities in ensuring that all children learn to read well and independently by the end of third grade. These resources will be used to build on current AmeriCorps and college work-study tutoring efforts (more than 800 colleges have already committed to use Federal work-study slots for reading tutors).

AmeriCorps and the senior volunteer programs won an increase of $64 million in the two bills that fund the National Service program ($39 million in the bill signed today). This will fund 3000 new AmeriCorps members and thousands of new senior volunteers who will recruit more than 100,000 volunteer tutors.

State teacher training and family literacy efforts are increased a total of $41 million, and $5 million is provided to help provide training for tutors.

Provides an advance appropriation of $210 million for pending legislation based on the President's America Reads initiative. The House version of that legislation -- promoting tutoring, family literacy, and teacher training -- passed the House with the Administration's support on November 8.

Brings Technology to the Classroom. Funding for the President's two education technology programs, started from scratch three years ago, is more than doubled, to $531 million:

Technology Literacy Challenge Fund. The bill provides $425 million, more than twice as much as the $200 million appropriated last year, to help States, communities, and schools acquire hardware, software, and connectivity linkages; provide professional development in the integration of technology into the curriculum; and apply technology to support school reform efforts and opportunities for all students.

Technology Innovation Challenge Grants. The bill includes $106 million--an 86 percent increase over last year's level of $57 million--to support up to 30 new projects, including 15 focused specifically on delivering the most effective training for teachers in using educational technologies, as well as 62 existing projects involving a wide range of innovative strategies for improving teaching and learning and increasing student access to technology.

Expands Choice and Accountability in Public Schools. President Clinton's Public Charter Schools Program received a 57 percent increase, from $51 million to $80 million. This program provides start-up funding for public schools that parents, teachers, and communities create -- and that States free from most rules and regulations while holding them accountable for raising student achievement. By the end of next year, the Department of Education will be funding nearly 1,000 locally-designed charter schools, accelerating progress toward the President's goal of developing 3,000 new charter schools by early in the next century -- a goal adopted by bipartisan charter school legislation passed by the House last week.

Supports Certification of Master Teachers. The bill includes $18.5 million in support of the President's plan to help 100,000 teachers nationwide seek certification as Master Teachers by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Provides After-School Opportunities for Children. The bill dramatically expands support for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, providing $40 million to support hundreds of after-school centers in rural and urban schools across the country that will provide academic enrichment, tutoring, and other learning opportunities while giving students a safe haven during the often-dangerous after-school hours. Supports Strategies for Transforming Failing Schools. The bill includes $150 million in new funds for an initiative, supported by the President, to help low-achieving, low-income schools transform themselves through proven reforms, addressing failing schools without abandoning public education. These funds will help almost 3,000 schools implement successful reforms.

Helps Children Learn English. The bill includes a 35% increase in bilingual and immigrant education secured by the President in the Balanced Budget Agreement. The bilingual education funding will help school districts teach English to more than a million limited English proficient children, as well as provide some 4,000 teachers with the training they need to do their jobs better. The Immigrant Education program will help more than a thousand school districts provide supplemental instructional services to 875,000 recent immigrant students.

Helps Children with Special Needs. This bill appropriates $3.8 billion for Special Education Grants to States, an increase of $700 million that will raise the Federal share of serving about 6 million children with disabilities by 19 percent. This increase will help States and school districts improve educational results for children with disabilities and help these children meet high standards, as called for by the Individuals with Disabilities Act Amendments of 1997, recently signed by the President.

Promotes High Standards for All Children. The bill provides $491 million for the President's Goals 2000 school reform program. Communities in every state are using Goals 2000 funds to upgrade curriculum, improve teaching, increase parental involvement in schools, and make greater use of computers in the classroom. Since 1994, over $1.3 billion has been invested in this vital initi ative.

Funds Extra Assistance for Low-Income Schools and Students. The bill provides nearly $7.4 billion in Title I to support extra help in basic and advanced skills for more than ten million disadvantaged students in elementary and secondary schools. Under the Clinton Administration, investment in Title I has grown by over $ 1 billion.


Expands Job Corps and Other Job Training Programs. The bill provides an increase of $497 million -- or 8 percent -- for employment and training programs. This means more opportunities for adult training, youth training, and Job Corps.

Creates new Youth Opportunities Areas. For Out-of-School Youth, the bill provides an advance appropriation of $250 million for employment programs in selected high-poverty urban and rural areas, including designated empowerment zones and enterprise communities.

Serves More Than 600,000 Dislocated Workers. The bill provides an increase of $65 million for dislocated workers -- bringing the total clients served to more than double what it was the year President Clinton took office.


Expands Head Start toward 1 Million Children. The bill provides nearly $4.4 billion for Head Start, keeping on track to meet the President's goal of serving one million children. With this $374 million increase, Head Start funding will have increased 57% since 1993. The program will serve an estimated 836,000 children in 1998.


Increases Pell Grant Award to $3,000 Maximum. Congress adopted President Clinton's proposal to increase the maximum Pell Grant to $3,000 -- the largest increase in two decades. Approximately 3.7 million students will receive this year's $300 increase, and an additional 220,000 low- and moderate-income families that were not previously eligible will receive Pell Grants.

Protects Families' Financial Aid Eligibility. The bill includes the President's proposal to ensure that families' eligibility for Federal financial aid is not reduced as a result of the tax cuts for higher education. This was a part of the Administration's original HOPE Scholarship proposal, but was not included in the recent tax legislation.

Reduces Student Loan Interest Rate. A one-year provision will reduce the interest rate on consolidation loans in the guaranteed student loan program to match the lower rate which has been offered under direct lending, and will allow old loans to be consolidated into either program.


Fully Funds Office for Civil Rights. The bill fully funds the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, meeting the President's request for a 12% increase in order to protect America's students from illegal discrimination in education.

Increases Funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions. The bill meets the President's request for increases for both Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic-Serving Institutions, providing greater support for these vital postsecondary institutions.


The bill also maintains our investments in Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities, School-to-Work Opportunities, College Work-Study, and other education and training priorities.