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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 3, 2000



President Clinton will visit schools in four cities during his School Reform Tour, carrying his education reform message to Audubon Elementary in Owensboro, Kentucky; Central High School in Davenport, Iowa; City Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota; and Eastgate Elementary in Columbus, Ohio. These schools have pursued effective strategies to close the achievement gap and improve all schools, such as setting higher standards, making targeted investment, and holding schools accountable for results. 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.

Audubon Elementary: Reaping the Results of High Standards and Accountability. Audubon Elementary in Owensboro, Kentucky is a formerly low-performing school that has turned itself around and was recognized as a National Title I Distinguished School in 1998-1999. This 450-student high-poverty school now ranks 18th in the state for student performance. The school ranks second in the state in writing, with the percent of students identified as distinguished or proficient in writing going from 12 percent to 57 percent since 1994. Scores have also increased from five percent to 70 percent in reading, and from zero percent to 64 percent in science. In part because of new teachers hired with funding from President Clinton's class size reduction initiative, class sizes now range from 15 to 22. Under Governor Patton, Kentucky has implemented standards, invested in low-performing schools and now has high-poverty schools that rank among the best performing schools in the state. In 1998, five of the 20 highest performing elementary schools for reading were high-poverty schools, as were six of the top 20 in math, and 13 of the top 20 in writing. This school is an excellent showcase of how high standards, accountability, and investment can turn around low-performing schools, and how high poverty does not have to relegate children to low achievement. While at Audubon Elementary, President Clinton will urge Congress to pass an Elementary and Secondary Education Act that will hold all states and districts accountable for doing what Kentucky has done, by turning around failing schools and helping all students succeed.

Central High School: Investing in Facilities to Support Student Achievement. Built in 1907, Central High School is the oldest school in Davenport, Iowa, with antique wooden lockers and outdated facilities. Davenport is currently undertaking a comprehensive renovation of their high schools and Central High School is the last to begin this process. The planned renovation at Central includes an expansion of the media center, expansion of classrooms, upgrading of the science lab, and upgrading of the electrical, communication, and ventilation systems. At Central High, President Clinton 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. Central has 1439 students, 33 percent of whom receive free and reduced-price lunch, 29 percent of whom are minorities.

City Academy: Charter Schools Making a Difference in Children's Lives. President Clinton will celebrate National Charter Schools Week by visiting City Academy, the nation's first charter school. Established in 1992, the school was created for at-risk high school age students who can thrive in a small learning community and need extra support. City Academy serves approximately 100 demographically diverse students. While at City Academy the President will discuss the future of the charter movement and participate in an online webside chat with high school students from around the country. When the President was first elected, City Academy was the nation's only charter school. Today there are more than 1,700 charter schools nationwide. In addition 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.

Eastgate Elementary School: Helping All Students Succeed. Eastgate is an elementary school in the process of turning itself around. Eastgate has substantially increased test scores during the past year. The school has hired two teachers through President Clinton's class size reduction initiative, and four of the school's teachers are participating in the Columbus Public Schools' innovative Peer Assistance Review program, which offers mentors for new teachers and helps struggling teachers improve or leave the profession. The President will take part in a roundtable discussion of school reform. The Columbus Public Schools are using proven strategies of reducing class size, expanding after-school and summer school, and raising standards to boost student achievement in their lowest-performing schools. Eastgate Elementary has approximately 200 students, all of whom wear school uniforms.