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                            THE WHITE HOUSE
                  (The Office of the Press Secretary)
For Immediate Release                                        May 4, 2000

                      WITH ROUNDTABLE ON WHAT WORKS
                                May 4, 2000

Concluding his national School Reform Tour today at Eastgate Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, President Clinton will highlight his education reform agenda with a roundtable discussion of what works. Columbus is raising student achievement by improving teacher quality, reducing class size, and investing in what works. By demanding more through high standards and real accountability, and by investing more in smaller classes, reading, and teacher quality, the Columbus Public Schools are achieving measurable results in some of their lowest-performing schools. Joining with educators, parents and students in a roundtable discussion, President Clinton will call on Congress to follow Columbus's lead by passing an education budget and education accountability bill to invest in our nation's schools and demand more from them.

REDUCING CLASS SIZE TO INCREASE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. The President will highlight the impact in Columbus of his initiative to hire 100,000 new teachers to reduce class size in the early grades. The Columbus Public Schools used funding from the President's initiative to add 58 teachers in 13 elementary schools, targeting funds to the lowest-performing schools as part of a broader effort to turn them around. With these additional teachers, all of whom are fully certified, the Columbus Public Schools have been able to reduce class sizes in grades 1-3 by about 10 students per class to an average of 15 students. At Eastgate Elementary test scores are up after just one year of this intensive effort. The percentage of 4th-graders who are proficient in reading has gone from 9.5 percent to 45.4 percent, and in math, from 9.5 percent to 30.3 percent in just one year. Science and writing scores are up as well at the school.

REFORMS THAT WORK. The Columbus Public Schools are applying a number of proven strategies: reducing class size, improving teacher quality through mentoring and peer review, providing after-school help, and ending social promotion the right way. The President will take part in a roundtable discussion with educators, parents, and students on what is working in Columbus, and how to apply those lessons elsewhere.

INVESTING IN OUR SCHOOLS AND DEMANDING MORE FROM THEM. The President will conclude his School Reform Tour by calling on Congress to send him education legislation that invests more in our schools and demands more from them. The President has sent a plan to Congress that would increase accountability and invest in successful strategies such as reducing class size, expanding after-school and summer school programs, modernizing schools, and improving teacher quality to ensure that all students receive the high quality education they need. The President's budget includes a $4.5 billion increase in education funding - up 12 percent from last year. The President has also sent Congress strong accountability legislation that would continue the work of identifying low-performing schools, require states to end out-of-field teaching, end social promotion the right way by ensuring that all students can meet high standards, and require school report cards for parents.