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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release May 6, 1999
                      VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES 

Washington, DC -- Vice President Al Gore announced today that California will receive $32 million to both help raise student achievement through comprehensive, research-based school reforms and support Governor Gray Davis' initiative to strengthen accountability in the state's public schools. $16.3 million will be available immediately, and an additional $16.1 million will be available in July.

"There is nothing more important than providing a world-class education for all of our people," Vice President Gore said, "This initiative will enable California schools to adopt proven reforms in order to help students meet high academic standards."

The announcement followed a meeting at the White House between Vice President Gore, Governor Davis, Speaker Villaraigosa, and U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley about the Clinton-Gore and Davis Administrations' efforts to improve education. At a Los Angeles school last month, Davis announced that California would apply for this funding and Gore pledged that the Administration would conduct a quick review of the application. Today in Sacramento, Mrs. Gore along with California's First Lady Sharon Davis also discussed the new funding at a California State Parent Teachers Association (PTA) convention.

The funding will be targeted to under-performing schools ready to implement schoolwide reforms this fall in exchange for being held accountable for results as part of Davis' school accountability plan. Participating schools will receive at least $50,000 of comprehensive school reform funds per year, renewable for up to three years. Awards will go to local school districts and schools in October through a competition organized by the state.

This funding is provided under the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Program, an initiative to help public schools across the country choose and implement comprehensive school reforms based on reliable research and effective practices that include an emphasis on basic academics and parental involvement. Participating schools work with outside partners -- such as a university or a non-profit organization -- to make improvements in the entire school, including upgrading curriculum and instruction, teacher professional development, classroom management and other strategies to help students reach high academic standards.

Schools receiving these funds will use research-based strategies to implement California's reading and math content standards. School progress will be tracked through the state's new academic performance measurement system, which will be linked to improvement rewards and new accountability provisions. The state Department of Education will evaluate participating schools and use the findings to help practitioners, administrators and policy makers raise achievement. All schools participating in the state's accountability plan will be required to demonstrate 5% growth in academic performance each year.

School reform models that could be used by participating schools range from Success for All, a pre-K-6 program developed at Johns Hopkins University that emphasizes early reading, family involvement and intensive tutoring for students that need extra help, to America's Choice, a K-12 program designed to help students reach internationally competitive standards in reading, math and other core subjects, with a focus on early literacy.

The Clinton-Gore Administration has asked for $175 million for this program in its FY2000 budget, a $30 million increase in this year's appropriation. More information on the program is available at, or from the California Department of Education web site at