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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 26, 2000


April 26, 2000

The White House is announcing today that President Clinton will visit schools in four cities during his School Reform Tour May 3 and 4. The President will travel to schools -- in Owensboro, Kentucky; Davenport, Iowa; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Columbus, Ohio to show what works to close the achievement gap: higher standards, targeted investment, and accountability for results. The visits on the tour will underscore the importance of turning around low-performing schools, supporting charter schools, boosting teacher quality and funding school construction. Throughout the tour, the President will call on Congress to pass an education budget and an education accountability bill to invest more in our nation's schools and demand more from them.

Owensboro, Kentucky. The President will visit the Daviess County School District in Owensboro, Kentucky, to highlight his plan to turn around low-performing schools. Under Governor Paul Patton, Kentucky has been a leader on standards-based reform and has successfully intervened to improve many of its low-performing schools through strategies that include extended learning opportunities, a literacy initiative and professional development for teachers. Now, some of the highest-performing schools in Kentucky are high-poverty schools that were once low-performing. The President will call on Congress to support his $250 million Education Accountability Fund, which provides resources to help states and localities turn around failing schools.

Davenport, Iowa. The President will visit the Davenport School District in the Quad Cities area to reaffirm his challenge to Congress to enact his school construction proposal. Davenport is currently modernizing several of its schools, and the President will call on Congress to help communities address the school infrastructure crisis created by rising enrollments and aging buildings. The President has sent a plan to Congress that would provide tax credits to states and localities to build and modernize 6,000 schools nationwide. In addition, the President's budget includes an emergency school construction initiative that would provide funds to states and school districts for emergency repairs on 5,000 schools a year.

St. Paul, Minnesota. Minnesota passed the first charter school law in the country, and President Clinton will visit the state to highlight the success of the charter school movement. When the President was first elected the nation's only charter school was in Minnesota; today, there are more than 1,700 nationwide, and thirty-six states and the District of Columbia have passed charter school laws. Since 1994, the federal government has invested almost $400 million in charter schools and the President's budget this year provides an additional $175 million to help reach the President's goal of 3,000 charter schools by 2002. Charter schools are public schools that are granted some freedom from regulations governing other public schools in exchange for a commitment to meet or exceed a state's academic standards.

Columbus, Ohio. During his visit to Columbus, the President will focus on the issue of teacher quality and the central role that teachers must play in school reform. The Columbus Public Schools have led the way in raising standards for teachers: the district's Peer Assistance Review program offers mentors for new teachers and helps struggling teachers improve or leave the profession. The President will also underscore his agenda of investing in proven strategies such as reducing class size, expanding after-school and summer school programs, and raising standards for all students. The Columbus Public Schools are using these strategies to boost student achievement in their lowest-performing schools. The President's budget includes a $1 billion Teaching to High Standards Initiative that would support high quality professional development for teachers -- including the type of peer review program that the Columbus schools have pioneered. His education accountability bill would require teachers in every state to know the subjects they teach.