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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 26, 2000


                           February 26, 2000

In his weekly radio address, President Clinton today will announce the release of official guidelines for his initiative to turn around failing schools. Last year, as part of his strategy to demand more from our schools and invest more in them, the President proposed an Accountability Fund to help states and localities fix failing schools or shut them down. Congress appropriated $134 million for this Accountability Fund, and today President Clinton will release guidelines from the Education Department that will help states and school districts use these resources most effectively, as well as expand public school choice for students in failing schools. The President today will also release state-by-state allocations of funds from this initiative, and will call on Congress to boost the size of the Accountability Fund to $250 million in FY 2001.

FIXING FAILING SCHOOLS BY INVESTING IN WHAT WORKS. Last year, President Clinton challenged Congress to pass his plan to create a first-ever Accountability Fund to help turn around low-performing schools. In the FY 2000 budget, Congress heeded that call and provided $134 million for this initiative. The guidelines the President is releasing today will help states and local school take firm measures to bolster low-performing schools: implementing tougher curricula, providing better teacher training, even closing down schools and reopening them under new leadership or as charter schools. These are proven strategies for reform, and today's guidelines emphasize the importance of targeting investment in what works.

Some states have already demonstrated the power of concerted and targeted investments in accountability. For instance, two years ago North Carolina sent assistance teams to its 15 worst-performing schools. One year later, 14 of those schools had improved enough to be taken off the state's watch list. But nationwide, according to a Department of Education analysis, only half of schools identified by states as low-performing currently receive assistance. The Accountability Fund will help ensure that all failing schools get the help they need to turn themselves around. In his FY 2001 budget, the President nearly doubles the size of the Fund -- from $134 million to $250 million -- and today he will also call on Congress to make this next investment.

EXPANDING PUBLIC SCHOOL CHOICE. President Clinton believes that public school choice can help improve low-performing schools by increasing competition and accountability. Under his Accountability Fund plan, students in failing schools that are receiving assistance may choose to transfer to higher-performing public schools, including charter schools. President Clinton has worked hard to increase choice in public education, through charter schools and other strategies, and his accountability initiative builds on that commitment.

IMPROVING OUR SCHOOLS BY INVESTING MORE AND DEMANDING MORE. The Accountability Fund is one component of the Administration's comprehensive agenda to strengthen public schools by demanding more and investing more. The President's Education Accountability Act would require states and school districts to issue report cards to parents on school performance, increase teacher quality and stop out-of-field teaching, end social promotion the right way by giving all students the tools they need to reach high standards, institute strong but fair discipline codes in schools, and strengthen the accountability initiative the President is highlighting today. The President's FY2001 budget request includes a $4.5 billion increase for education that will, among other goals, expand after-school and summer school programs, reduce class sizes in the early grades, build and modernize public schools, increase teacher quality, and expand charter schools. Today the President will call on Congress to act on his legislative and budget proposals to improve all of our schools and to make accountability in education a reality nationwide.



Estimated State-by-State allocations

                                             FY 2000           FY2001
                                         Appropriation        Request

 Alabama                                    $2,239,376     $4,079,051
 Alaska                                        330,646        586,897
 Arizona                                     2,126,958      3,949,253
 Arkansas                                    1,374,803      2,534,493
 California                                 16,556,812     31,984,516
 Colorado                                    1,236,410      2,107,061
 Connecticut                                 1,220,591      2,236,705
 Delaware                                      368,906        599,777
 Florida                                     6,373,427     12,869,909
 Georgia                                     3,662,555      7,093,080
 Hawaii                                        349,593        681,519
 Idaho                                         408,150        713,612
 Illinois                                    5,676,307     10,716,630
 Indiana                                     2,032,799      3,592,718
 Iowa                                          925,121      1,517,137
 Kansas                                        975,911      1,722,479
 Kentucky                                    2,213,377      4,100,248
 Louisiana                                   3,317,431      6,099,003
 Maine                                         549,164        923,852
 Maryland                                    1,787,623      3,384,920
 Massachusetts                               2,661,366      4,523,398
 Michigan                                    5,844,679     10,544,187
 Minnesota                                   1,524,351      2,544,677
 Mississippi                                 2,164,275      3,790,983
 Missouri                                    2,334,733      4,205,422
 Montana                                       456,413        810,192
 Nebraska                                      558,276        958,537
 Nevada                                        404,802        792,507
 New Hampshire                                 340,402        564,887
 New Jersey                                  3,078,484      5,370,717
 New Mexico                                  1,152,065      2,264,894
 New York                                   12,807,331     25,729,301
 North Carolina                              2,567,507      4,820,197
 North Dakota                                  343,794        611,328
 Ohio                                        5,241,730      9,064,523
 Oklahoma                                    1,673,782      3,111,992
 Oregon                                      1,188,629      2,029,704
 Pennsylvania                                5,861,386     10,546,006
 Rhode Island                                  429,889        779,056
 South Carolina                              1,738,421      3,282,294
 South Dakota                                  342,249        630,894
 Tennessee                                   2,334,502      4,105,508
 Texas                                      11,618,707     22,556,841
 Utah                                          612,242        953,999
 Vermont                                       307,016        561,789
 Virginia                                    2,041,514      3,782,645
 Washington                                  1,889,622      3,207,244
 West Virginia                               1,274,452      2,332,694
 Wisconsin                                   2,182,633      3,955,012
 Wyoming                                       304,959        545,375
 District of Columbia                          441,618        907,821
 Puerto Rico                                 4,552,211      8,622,516

 TOTAL                                    $134,000,000   $250,000,000