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                    Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Dover, Delaware)
For Immediate Release                                        May 8, 1998

Class-Size Reduction and Teacher Quality Act


The President today forwarded to the Congress a legislative proposal to help States and school districts recruit, train, and hire 100,000 additional teachers in order to reduce the average class size to 18 in grades 1 through 3. The legislation would also assist school districts in ensuring that the new teachers hired, in the national effort to reduce class sizes, have the skills and training needed to educate their students to high standards.

Need for the Bill

The need for this legislation is clear. As schools across the Nation have struggled to accommodate increasing enrollments, educators and parents have become increasingly concerned about the impact of class size on teaching and learning, particularly in the early elementary grades, where students learn reading and other basic skills. This concern is justified: rigorous research has shown that students in smaller classes, especially in early grades, make greater educational gains and maintain those gains over time. Moreover, the benefits of smaller classes are greatest for poor, minority, and inner-city children, the children who often face the greatest challenges in meeting high educational standards.

Smaller classes will have the greatest impact on student learning if the new teachers brought into the classroom are well qualified to teach reading and to take advantage of smaller learning environments. For this reason, the proposal emphasizes not just class-size reduction but also educator professional development, and it will give school districts adequate time to recruit and train staff while phasing in smaller classes.

Summary of the Proposal

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