THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON CALLS ON CONGRESS TO INVEST IN ESSENTIAL EDUCATION PRIORITIES
Today President Clinton will call on the Congress to pass a budget that invests in our schools and demands more from them. In February the President sent the Congress a balanced and responsible budget that made investments in key educational initiatives to raise standards, increase accountability, and invest in what works. The Congressional Republicans have passed a budget plan built on misguided priorities and insufficient resources. To pay for risky and irresponsible tax cuts, the Congressional Republican budget would cut investments in domestic priorities $29 billion below the President's level, an average cut of 9 percent. The budget plan passed on a party-line vote by the U.S. House of Representatives appropriations committee:
appropriation ignores the President's $1.3 billion plan to help states and localities make $6.5 billion in emergency repairs to crumbling schools. -- Fails to create smaller classes for as many as 2.9 million young children. The House appropriation provides none of the President's $1.75 billion request for class-size reduction. It backs away from the bipartisan agreement to hire 100,000 new teachers and jeopardizes the federal commitment to hire as many as 20,000 new teachers next year and to continue support for the 29,000 teachers already hired. Research shows that small classes in the early grades help students master the basics and raise student achievement. -- Denies nearly 650,000 low-income middle-school students the extra college preparation they need through the GEAR UP initiative. GEAR UP provides disadvantaged youth early college preparation and awareness activities including mentoring, tutoring, college visits, and financial aid information. The House committee freezes GEAR UP at this year's level, rather than increasing it to $325 million as requested by the President, denying GEAR UP to roughly 650,000 disadvantaged students. Mentoring and college preparation activities are key strategies to help disadvantaged youngsters learn about higher education opportunities. -- Refuses as many as 1.6 million children extended learning opportunities in safe, drug-free environments. The House committee provides only $600 million for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, rather than the $1 billion requested by President Clinton, preventing help to 900 communities. Extended learning time is an essential strategy to help all students master challenging academic material and reach high standards. The President's budget would enable all students in low-performing schools to participate in high quality after-school and summer school programs to raise student achievement. -- Dramatically cuts state and local efforts to improve low-performing schools. By eliminating Title I Accountability grants, for which President Clinton requested $250 million, the House committee would deny extra assistance to at least 80 percent of the 7,000 schools identified for improvement or corrective action under Title I. States and localities use this funding to intervene in low-performing schools to turn them around and also to provide greater public school choice for students in low-performing schools. -- Denies more than 260,000 disadvantaged students Title I services to help them learn the basics and reach high standards. The House plan also fails to provide new resources needed to improve teacher quality and strengthen school improvement efforts. Title I funding is the cornerstone of state and local efforts to ensure that all students learn challenging academic material and reach high standards.
Moreover, the House and Senate have ignored the President's major education tax cuts: -- Nearly $25 Billion in School Modernization Bonds to help build and modernize 6,000 schools. Districts urgently need help accommodating record enrollments and repairing crumbling buildings. Because interest on the bonds would be paid by federal tax credits, the bonds allow districts to borrow interest-free.