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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release Ocrober 1, 1998

      "Stop playing partisan politics for just one day and devote 
         that day to strengthening America's public schools."
                 President Bill Clinton October 1, 1998

ONE DAY FOR AMERICA'S SCHOOLS. President Clinton will challenge Congressional leaders to leave politics at the schoolhouse door and take immediate action to help ensure every American student receives a world-class education. Joined by Vice President Gore and Congressional Democrats, President Clinton will urge the Congress to set aside one of the few remaining days this year to vote on and pass his education agenda to reduce class size to a national average of 18, modernize 5,000 schools nationwide, and make the needed investments to provide schools and students with after-school programs, technology, and other tools to bring our schools into the 21st century.

Smaller Classes With Well-Prepared Teachers. President Clinton will urge Congress to pass the Class Size Reduction and Teacher Quality Act, to provide $12 billion over 7 years to help local communities hire 100,000 teachers and reduce class size to a national average of 18 in grades 1-3. Studies show that smaller classes help teachers provide more personal attention to students, reduce discipline problems, and improve student achievement.

Modern Schools for the 21st Century. President Clinton will urge Congress to pass his School Modernization initiative, which will provide local communities with $22 billion in interest-free bonds to help renovate, modernize and build over 5,000 schools nationwide to reduce overcrowding, fix leaky roofs, and make schools safer.

Critical Investments in After-School Programs, Education Technology and the Basics. President Clinton will urge the Congress to fully fund his FY 1999 budget request to strengthen public schools by raising standards, increasing accountability, expanding public school choice, strengthening teaching and learning and keeping our schools safe and drug free.

After-School programs for academic enrichment and extra help in a safe, supervised environment. The President's budget would provide after-school opportunities for up to 500,000 students, with tutoring, academic enrichment, supervised recreation and community service opportunities in safe, drug-free environments.

Education technology. The President has made an unprecedented commitment to bringing technology to the classroom by calling for technology training for teachers and expanding access to computers in the classroom. His budget asks for $721 million.

Strengthening public schools, not selling them short. Overall, the House Labor/HHS appropriations bill fails to fund $2 billion of the President education initiatives by failing to make critical investments needed to raise academic standards, help young children learn to read and all students master the basics, keep our schools drug-free, and give disadvantaged students and their families pathways to college. While the Senate bill rejects the extreme cuts made by the House, it falls one billion short in funding the President's priorities, and shortchanges programs that help young children learn to read, help children become proficient in English and learn academic subjects, establish innovative charter schools, and keep middle schools safe and drug-free.