View Header


                      Office of the Press Secretary
                          (New York, New York)
For Immediate Release                                    January 8, 1998


This week, an independent report showed that more than half the students in our nation's city schools are failing to master the basics in reading, math, and science -- the building blocks of all the skills they will need to succeed in the 21st Century. And while some city schools systems are making progress, all too many are clearly failing our children.

As a nation, we have a responsibility to all of our children-- and especially to those in our most vulnerable communities. That is why I have fought for high national standards and national tests to help our children reach their highest potential.

Since I called for national standards, I am proud to say that 15 major city school systems have stepped forward to accept my challenge. But we must not rest until every school system in the nation commits to adopting high standards -- and helping their students to meet them.

If we are going to go strong into the 21st Century, we must continue to expand opportunity for all of our people -- and when it comes to our children's education, that means continuing to expect and demand the very best from our schools, our teachers, and above all, from our students. That is why I have fought for excellence, competition, and accountability in our nation's public schools, with more parental involvement, greater choice, better teaching, and an end to social promotion. We cannot afford to let our children down when they need us the most.