THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES ADMINISTRATION WILL SEEK HISTORIC INCREASE FOR HEAD START
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.