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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 27, 1999


|                               CHILDREN                               |
|                          September 27, 1999                          |
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On the same day that President Clinton vetoed the Congressional Republicans' risky tax and budget plan, which would have led to drastic cuts in key education investments, in our children's education, the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations subcommittee passed a partisan bill that undermines educational investments and efforts to improve our schools. The President has called for investments to reduce class size, improve teacher quality; expand after-school programs; modernize schools; and turn around failing schools in order to increase accountability, raise standards, end social promotion, and ensure that all students receive a world class education. The Republican appropriations bill, however, undermines all of these goals. President Clinton called the bill "unacceptable" and demanded that Congressional Republicans match their rhetoric about education with action.

THE REPUBLICAN APPROPRIATIONS BILL REPRESENTS A STEP BACKWARDS IN OUR EFFORTS TO STRENGTHEN PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Across the country, states and school districts are demonstrating that high standards, accountability for results, and strategic investments are needed to raise student and school performance. But Congressional Republicans are turning back the clock. The irresponsible Republican bill:

THE REPUBLICAN BILL GUTS THE ADMINISTRATION'S EFFORTS TO TURN AROUND FAILING SCHOOLS. Holding schools accountable also means making a commitment to turn failing schools around. That is why the President's plan calls for investments to fix schools that are identified as failing, and in reconstituting chronically underperforming schools or closing them to ensure high quality public options for all students. But the Republican plan slashes resources dedicated for these purposes. The bill provides none of the funding requested by the President for the explicit purpose of turning around failing schools.

EFFORTS TO PREPARE CHILDREN FOR SCHOOL AND FOR COLLEGE SUFFER AS WELL. The Republican bill undercuts early childhood education programs and efforts to prepare students for higher education. The bill provides $500 million less for Head Start than the President's plan and terminates funding for the GEAR UP program, which prepares young people early for entering and succeeding in college.

PRESIDENT CALLS ON REPUBLICANS TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT IMPROVING THE NATION'S SCHOOLS. The President has proposed five key accountability measures -- turning around failing schools, improving teacher quality, ending social promotion, instituting discipline policies, and issuing school report cards -- and has sent Congress a balanced budget that invests in these measures. The President called on Republicans to put aside partisan politics and work with him to improve our public schools and give our students the skills to succeed.