PRESIDENT CLINTON HIGHLIGHTS THE PROGRESS OF AMERICA'S STUDENTS AND THE CLINTON-GORE COMMITMENT TO INVEST MORE IN OUR SCHOOLS AND DEMAND MORE
FROM THEM January 9, 2001
Today President Clinton will visit James Ward Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois to highlight that the Clinton-Gore commitment to invest more in our schools, while also demanding more from them, has led to remarkable progress in student academic achievement, closing the achievement gap, expanding access to technology, and making higher education more affordable. James Ward Elementary, with 88 percent of its students coming from low-income families, represents the many urban, high-poverty schools that have been transformed over the past decade into high-performing schools. With the assistance of both state and federal money, including Title I funds and a 21st Century Community Learning grant, Ward Elementary has launched a comprehensive school reform effort that is yielding impressive results in both reading and math test scores. Through their leadership, the President and Vice President have helped raise expectations for all students, supported states in developing and putting in place rigorous standards and systems of assessment and accountability, and invested in proven strategies to improve the educational performance of all students.
Raising Standards and Holding Schools Accountable for Results
THEN: Falling test scores and low expectations. In 1992, test scores were falling and only 14 states had standards in core subjects. In 1990, only 38 percent of graduating high schools seniors had taken a core curriculum of four years of English and three years each of Math, Science and Social Studies. Fewer than 80 percent of the nation's highest-poverty schools received Title I funds, which are intended to aid the most disadvantaged schools. And students in many disadvantaged schools faced watered-down curricula and low expectations instead of high standards that challenged them to succeed. NOW: High standards, accountability and rising test scores. President Clinton and Vice President Gore launched an era of education reform based on setting high standards for all schools and students and providing the support to meet them. Higher standards have begun to pay off for America's students. Since 1992, reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have increased for 4th, 8th, and 12th graders, including those students in the highest poverty schools. Math SAT scores are at a 30-year high. -- President Clinton and Vice President Gore enacted Goals 2000 which has helped States establish standards of excellence for all children, and implement steps to meet those standards and to raise educational achievement. Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, 49 states have implemented standards in core subjects and the proportion of graduating high schools seniors completing a core curriculum has risen to 55 percent. -- The President enacted legislation targeting Title I funds to high-poverty schools and requiring States and school districts to turn around low-performing schools. Today, nearly all of the nation's highest-poverty schools receive Title I funds. In 1999, the President enacted a new $134 million Accountability Fund, which is helping school districts improve low-performing schools by investing in proven reforms. Next year's budget increases this fund to $225 million. -- The Clinton-Gore Administration has worked to expand public school choice and to support the growth of public charter schools. In 1993, there was one charter school in the nation; today, there are more than 2,000. -- President Clinton fought for a won a new initiative to repair America's schools, providing $1.2 billion for urgent school renovation. The 2001 budget also provides much-needed repair funds to Native American schools.
Improving the Quality of Education with High Quality Teachers
THEN: High class size and low investment in teacher quality. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the federal government cut and continuously underfunded assistance for teacher recruitment and training, setting the stage for anemic investments in this priority for years to come. Large class sizes made it difficult for teachers to maintain order or give students the personal attention they need to ensure they learn the basics. In 1992, fewer than 80 percent of English and Math teachers had a college major or minor in their teaching field, and only 282 teachers were certified as National Board Teachers as recently as 1995. NOW: Helping communities begin to hire 100,000 quality teachers to reduce class size. The Clinton-Gore Administration has made the recruitment, preparation, and training of high-quality teachers a priority, and investments in these programs have increased more than ten-fold since the 1980s. President Clinton and Vice President Gore proposed and enacted the Class Size Reduction Initiative, which is helping communities begin to hire 100,000 qualified teachers to reduce class size in the early grades. They created Troops to Teachers in 1994 to help improve public school education by introducing the skills and experience of military service members into high-poverty schools. They won $567 million for teacher quality initiatives in the FY 2001 budget, investing in teacher development, recruitment, and retention, expanding Troops to Teachers to other mid-career professionals; and training early childhood educators. Thanks in part to the Clinton-Gore Administration's support of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the number of National Board Teachers has climbed to 4,804 in 1999. And in 1999, 86 percent of English teachers and 82 percent of Math teachers had a major or minor in their teaching field.
Expanding Access to Technology in Schools
THEN: Educational technology a low priority. A decade ago, computers were largely luxuries found only in the most affluent school districts. In 1993, only three percent of classrooms had computers that were connected to the Internet, and in 1994 only 35 percent of public schools had Internet access. Students had little opportunity to learn to use computers and to explore the Internet, and the government had not mobilized its resources to expand the use of technology in our schools. NOW: Historic investments in educational technology lead to 95 percent of public schools connected to the Internet. Understanding the critical importance of incorporating technology into the classroom and ensuring equal opportunity for students to benefit from technology, the Clinton-Gore Administration made increasing access to technology in our schools a top priority. President Clinton and Vice President Gore created the E-rate and the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund to help connect every school to the Internet, increase the number of multimedia computers in the classroom and provide technology training for teachers. In addition, with the Vice President's leadership the E-rate has secured low-cost connections to the Internet for libraries, rural health clinics and hospitals, providing discounts worth over $2 billion annually. The number of classrooms connected to the Internet increased to 65 percent in 1999, while the number of public schools connected rose to more than 95 percent. President Clinton and Vice President Gore increased our investment in educational technology by over 3,600 percent -- from $23 million in FY 1993 to $872 million in FY 2001.
Opening the Doors of Higher Education to All Americans
THEN: Costs put college out of reach for too many students With tuition costs skyrocketing, middle class families were struggling to put their children through college. In 1992, only 43 percent of students benefited from federal student grants and loans, and more than 22 percent of student loan borrowers defaulted within two years of entering repayment. The maximum Pell Grant award was $2,300, and its value had not kept up with inflation. NOW: Largest expansion of college opportunity since the GI Bill To open the doors of college to all Americans, the Clinton-Gore Administration enacted the largest investment in higher education since the GI Bill. President Clinton and Vice President Gore created HOPE Scholarships and Lifetime Learning tax credits, which were claimed in 1999 by an estimated 10 million American families struggling to pay for college. Lower student loan interest rates and fees have saved students over $9 billion; the average $10,000 loan costs a student $1,300 less now than it did in 1993. The student loan default rate has fallen for seven straight years and is now a record-low 6.9 percent. President Clinton expanded the Work-Study program and increased the Pell Grant maximum award to $3,750 -- the highest amount ever. In 1999, 59 percent of students benefited from federal student grants and loans.
Improving Education for All of America's Children