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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 22, 1999


February 22, 1999

Today, in an address to the National Governors Association, President Clinton will reiterate his call for a new era of accountability in American education, and will ask Congress to pass his agenda to give states the tools they need to provide all children with a world-class education.

Building on What Works to Strengthen Accountability. In his State of the Union address, President Clinton announced a package of accountability measures designed to hold students, teachers, and schools to the high standards that will be the keys to success in the twenty-first century. In his remarks to the nation's governors at the White House, President Clinton will discuss his plan to support state and local school reform efforts through bold new steps to insure that federal support for education is directed only toward programs and policies that work to improve student achievement. The President will shortly send to Congress his Education Accountability Act, which will require states and school districts that receive federal funds to end social promotion; to insure that all teachers are qualified; to turn around their lowest-performing schools; to provide parents with annual report cards on school performance and to institute effective school discipline policies.

National Leadership in Support of State Reform. President Clinton will also applaud the efforts that North Carolina, Michigan, Delaware, Pennsylvania, California and other states are making, under the leadership of committed governors, to implement these common-sense principles. The President will call on all states to take similar steps to ensure that all of America's children reap the rewards of strengthened accountability. While states and school districts have made important progress in instituting rigorous academic standards, a great deal of work remains to be done to help schools, teachers and students meet those standards. Only 26 states now require students to pass high school graduation exams, and far fewer have policies in place to require students to show that they have mastered the skills necessary to be promoted from grade to grade. Just 19 states have policies to intervene in low-performing schools and turn them around. And there are some 50,000 people teaching in America's schools on emergency teaching licenses - which means that they have not met the standards set by states for beginning teachers.

Investments To Support World-Class Education. The President's effort to support high academic standards for all children includes an unprecedented commitment of national resources to help states and local districts improve education. President Clinton's balanced budget calls for strengthened investments in education to hire 100,000 teachers to reduce class size in the early grades, modernize up to 6,000 schools, triple funding for after-school activities, improve the quality of teaching, increase literacy, enhance the use of technology in the schools, recruit outstanding teachers in underserved high-poverty rural areas and inner cities, and provide new pathways to college for disadvantaged students.