PRESIDENT CLINTON CITES RECORD-BREAKING SCHOOL ENROLLMENT AS MORE
EVIDENCE OF THE NEED TO INVEST IN OUR SCHOOLS
August 19, 1999
Today, President Clinton will announce the release of the Baby Boom Echo
Report, revealing a record high number of school-age children, and
drawing attention to the pressing need for investment in our schools.
The President will urge Congress to enact a responsible budget that pays
down the debt, strengthens Medicare and Social Security, and invests in
national priorities like education. President Clinton also pointed out
that the Republican tax and budget plans could cause devastating cuts in
key initiatives that keep schools safe and drug-free, help children
learn to read, reduce class size in the early grades, support
after-school programs, and expand access to college. At a time when the
need is most urgent, the Republican plan would support the modernization
of only about one-tenth as many schools as the President's plan.
CHILDREN OF BABY BOOMERS CONTINUE TO BREAK SCHOOL ENROLLMENT RECORDS
Total public and private school enrollment will reach a record 53.2
million students this year. The 1996-97 school year was the first year
that members of Baby Boom Echo broke their parents' record for school
enrollment, and they have continued to enroll in the record-breaking
numbers every year since then. In fact, it is expected that enrollment
will continue to increase every year until 2008.
The West and South lead the nation in growth. While every region of
the country will see significant increases in student enrollment,
Southern and Western states will experience the greatest growth.
Between 1989 and 2009, the West will see enrollment increase by over
35%, while enrollment is the South will increase by nearly 20%.
Growth is both urban and suburban. The top 25 growing districts in
the country are both urban and suburban. From 1987 to 1997, New York
City had the largest increase (131,920), followed by Dade County
(92,635) and Los Angeles (91,119). Suburban districts surrounding
Atlanta: Gwinnett County (35,462), Cobb County (24,702) and Fulton
County (23,089), and the Washington, D.C. suburbs: Montgomery County
(28,752) and Prince Georges County (23,935) have also experienced rapid
The most rapid increases over the next ten years will occur in
America's high schools. High school enrollment is expected to increase
by 1.3 million students over the next decade (from 14.9 million in 1999
to 16.2 million in 2009), creating a pressing need for more well trained
teachers. On average, high schools also cost approximately twice as
much to build as elementary schools. The average cost of construction
for new schools is $8 million for elementary schools, and $16 million
for high schools. [Council for Educational Facility Planners
College enrollment will rise to an all-time high of 14.9 million this
year. This is the second year in a row that college enrollment has set
a new record. This number is expected to jump an additional 1.5 million
in the next ten years, at a time when colleges and universities are
already filled to capacity.
HIGHER ENROLLMENT UNDERSCORES NEED FOR GREATER INVESTMENT IN SCHOOLS, ASPRESIDENT CLINTON HAS PROPOSED
The size of the Baby Boom Echo underscores why we must act now to
build new schools and fix old ones; and to recruit and hire high quality
teachers to reduce the class size in the early grades. President
Clinton has proposed, as part of his balanced budget, to support state
and local efforts to build or renovate up to 6,000 schools nationwide;
and to fulfill the commitment he and Congress made to hire 100,000 new
teachers to lower class size in the early grades.
REPUBLICAN PLANS FAIL TO ADDRESS URGENT NEED FOR SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION ANDMODERNIZATION
The Republican plan denies local school districts vital support to
build and modernize up to 6,000 public schools across the nation. The
President's targeted tax cut would cover the interest on state and local
efforts to build and modernize 6,000 public schools across the nation.
The Republican tax cut provides marginal help to address the needs of
only one-tenth that many schools. The President's proposal to modernize
our public schools could be fully funded using only about 1% of the
Republican tax cut approved by the House.
REPUBLICAN PLANS FAIL TO PROVIDE SMALLER CLASSES FOR AMERICA'S CHILDREN
Republican plans undermine a bipartisan effort to ensure funding for
smaller classes. Last year, a bipartisan agreement was reached to make
a down payment on the President's plan to hire 100,000 teachers to
reduce class size in the early grades to a nationwide average of 18;
earlier this month the Education Department awarded funds to help local
school districts begin hiring 30,000 teachers before school starts this
fall. While the President wants to finish the job, House Republicans
have passed a bill that undermines this class size initiative and fails
to guarantee that one cent will be used to hire a single teacher to
reduce the size of a single class.
REPUBLICAN TAX BILL SQUEEZES OUT OTHER KEY INVESTMENTS IN EDUCATION
The Republican tax and budget plans could force dramatic cuts in
funding for education. The President cited Administration estimates* of
the long-term impact of the Republican plans on key investments to
improve our schools and expand access to college. In the tenth year
alone of the Republican tax and budget plans, the nation could be forced
to deny support to nearly 6 million students in high-poverty
communities; withhold from 520,000 children the assistance they need to
learn to read; deny 430,000 kids access to Head Start; slash Pell
grants, and block hundreds of thousands of students from the opportunity
to work their way through college.
*The calculations are based on the Republican budget and tax plans,
assuming that Congress also funds defense at the President's requested
level and pays down debt by as much as the Congressional budget
resolution promises. Given these assumptions, the Republican tax plan
would require dramatic cuts to domestic discretionary programs --
cutting more than half from current funding levels.