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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release January 26, 1999
                       ADMINISTRATION WILL SEEK 

Washington, DC -- Vice President Gore announced today the Administration's historic request to increase funding for the Head Start program by $607 million in the fiscal year 2000 budget.

"There is nothing more important to America's future than investing in our children", Vice President Gore said. "Our investment will help ensure that our children show up to school on the first day ready and eager to learn."

If enacted, this increase would be the largest in history, and would enable Head Start to serve an additional 42,000 children and bring the total national enrollment to 877,000 children.

Under the President's and Vice President's leadership, Head Start has become America's premier early childhood development program, ensuring that low-income children start school ready to learn. In October 1998, President Clinton signed the Head Start Amendments of 1998, bipartisan reauthorization legislation that builds on the Administration's commitment to improve and expand Head Start.

Today, the Vice President announced:

     Increased Funds to Serve More Children -- The FY 2000 budget 
     request fulfills the President's commitment to serving more 
     children with Head Start services while also improving
     program quality.  Under the Clinton Administration, funding 
     for Head Start has already increased by 68 percent, and 
     enrollment has increased by over 200,000 children, reaching 
     835,000 children this fiscal year, 1999.  The FY 2000 budget 
     request would increase funding to nearly double the level 
     when the President took office, keeping the Administration 
     on track toward the goal of serving one million children by 
     the year 2002.

     Expanded Access for More Infants and Toddlers -- The Vice 
     President's announcement today also continues the Administration's 
     commitment to expanding the Early Head Start program that serves
     low-income families with children under three years old.  The 
     FY 2000 budget request would serve 7,000 more children, well on
     the way to the goal of doubling the program by 2002.

     Increased Funds to Ensure Quality -- The FY 2000 budget builds 
     on the strong Administration and Congressional commitment to 
     enhance the quality of Head Start, promotes school readiness 
     and family literacy, improves staff training and credentialing, 
     and increases the funds set aside for quality improvements.  
     The historic increase announced today includes approximately 
     $250 million in new funds to continue to improve program
     quality.  The Clinton Administration has already invested in 
     improving Head Start services -- attracting and retaining high 
     quality teachers, and ensuring the safety of Head Start centers.  
     In 1996, the Department of Health and Human Services set new 
     Head Start performance standards, and has since monitored Head 
     Start programs against these standards, provided staff training 
     and technical assistance, and selected new sponsors for 100 
     programs unable to meet them.

     This announcement also builds on historic initiatives outlined in 

the President's State of the Union Address to improve education and make child care better, safer and more affordable for America's working families. President Clinton and Vice President Gore are proposing $1.4 billion to keep the nation on track to hiring 100,000 well-prepared teachers to reduce class size in the early grades to a national average of 18; $600 million to expand after-school and summer school programs for more than one million additional students; tax credits to pay the interest on nearly $25 billion in bonds to build and modernize more than 5,000 public schools; and will propose legislation to raise standards in education by ensuring that schools end social promotion; teachers are qualified to teach the subjects they are assigned; states turn around their lowest-performing schools; parents get annual report cards on school performance; and schools institute effective discipline policies.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore are also proposing to strengthen child care through: increasing subsidies for low-income working families, giving greater tax relief to low- and middle-income families, expanding after-school programs, and providing greater resources to improve child care quality. Their proposal also includes a new effort to provide tax relief to parents who chose to stay at home with their young children.

The President and the Vice President are committed to working with the Congress on a bipartisan basis to address these critical issues for America's families.