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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Antigua, Guatemala)
For Immediate Release                                     March 11, 1999


I have long supported the Ed-Flex concept, and I was pleased when the Congressional leadership decided to take up this bill as one of its first matters of business. Today, however, the Senate used this bill to undermine one of our most important educational achievements -- an initiative to hire 100,000 well-prepared teachers to reduce class size in the early grades to a national average of 18. The Senate not only voted down an amendment to ensure long-term funding for this initiative, but passed an amendment that would allow local school districts to completely opt out of class size reduction. I will work hard for the elimination of this amendment in Conference. We should be working together to make continued progress on obvious national needs such as reducing class size -- not attempting to tear down the bipartisan work we did last year to address this problem.