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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release April 1, 1998
                     HIRE ALMOST 900 NEW TEACHERS 

          Administration's Proposal Would Help Iowa's Students 
               Master Basic Skills and Learn to Read Well

Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore announced today that Iowa could hire nearly 900 more teachers under the Clinton Administration's plan that would allocate $87.6 million to Iowa to hire these new teachers by the year 2005.

The Vice President unveiled state-by-state benefits of the Administration's new plan to improve the reading skills of young children and reduce class size by hiring 100,000 high-quality teachers in a visit to Lakewood Elementary School in Norwalk, Iowa, where he led a town meeting with Iowa teachers, educators and parents to discuss efforts to improve reading and education.

There is nothing more important to America's future prosperity than giving our children a world-class education, Vice President Gore said. We must ensure that every child can master the basics and achieve high standards, so they can succeed in today's knowledge-based economy. One of our highest priorities must be to help every child read well by the end of the third grade -- and this initiative will do that by providing smaller classes and highly qualified teachers all across America.

In its 1999 budget, the Administration proposed $12.4 billion to put 100,000 more teachers in America's classrooms over the next 7 years. The new initiative would reduce class size in grades 1 through 3 to a nation-wide average of 18 by providing funds to help local school districts hire high-quality teachers. Funding also would help states and school districts recruit and train teachers to teach reading effectively.

Reducing class size makes common sense, Education Secretary Richard Riley said. It will not only make sure every child gets more personal attention but also will improve discipline in classrooms, raise student achievement and help give our young people a solid foundation in the critical early grades.

In addition, the Vice President will tout research showing what parents and teaches know from experience -- small classes promote effective teaching and learning and individualized attention early on lays the foundation for children to succeed later in school and the workplace.

Citing a landmark four-year study of class-size reduction in grades kindergarten through 3, the Vice President will highlight national studies showing that strong reading skills at a young age lead to success later in a child's schooling and eventual career. For example, in Tennessee, researchers found that students in smaller classes earned significantly higher scores on basic skills tests. Follow-up studies have shown that these achievement gains continued after the students returned to regular size classes after the third grade.

Funds for this initiative would be distributed to state's based on the Title I grant formula. Each high poverty school district would receive the same share of these funds as it received under Title I, and remaining funds would be distributed within each state based on the need to reduce class size. States achieving an average class size of 18 could use these funds to further reduce class size in grades 1 through 3 or expand their efforts to other grades.

Under the Administration's proposal, America's students and schools would begin benefitting with an initial allotment of $1.1 billion in 1999 if Congress enacts the Clinton plan as proposed this year. The annual benefit will increase through 2005 to make sure school districts have the time to recruit and train quality teachers.