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Expanding Educational Opportunity for All Americans

"Our administration has made education a high priority, focusing on standards, accountability and choice in public schools, and on making a college education available to every American -- with increased Pell Grant scholarships, better student loan and work-study programs, and the HOPE scholarship and other tax credits to help families pay for college tuition. Because of these efforts, more young people have the chance to make the most of their God-given abilities, and take their place in the high-tech world of the 21st century. "

-- President Bill Clinton
August 7, 1999


Largest Investment in Education in Thirty Years. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have been committed to maintaining our nation's investment in education. The Clinton-Gore Administration enacted the largest investment in education in 30 years - and the largest investment in higher education since the G.I. Bill by doubling student aid to nearly $60 billion.

Providing Early Education to Nearly 900,000 Children with Head Start. The President and Vice President have expanded Head Start funding by 90 percent since 1993. Head Start will reach approximately 880,000 low-income children in FY 2000 and, with the President's proposed increase for the program, will be on the way to reaching the President's goal of serving one million children and their families by the year 2002. The Administration also created Early Head Start, bringing Head Start's successful comprehensive services to families with children ages zero to three, and set high quality standards for both programs.

Modernizing Our Schools. This year, the President and Vice President have proposed federal tax credits to pay the interest on nearly $25 billion in state and local bonds to modernize and rebuild up to 6,000 public schools that are overcrowded, out-of-date, and unsafe. In addition, the Administration's FY 2001 budget includes a new $1.3 billion school urgent renovation loan and grant proposal to repair 5,000 schools. An estimated $127 billion is needed to bring America's schools into good overall condition, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Public and elementary enrollment is expected to increase by another million students between 1999 and 2006, to a record 44.4 million elementary and secondary students.

Providing Safe After-School Opportunities for 850,000 Students Each Year. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program provides enriching after-school and summer school opportunities for 850,000 school-age children in rural and urban communities in FY 2000. Extended learning time has not only been shown to increase achievement in reading and math, but to decrease youth violence and drug use. Funding for this program more than doubled from FY 1999 to FY 2000. For FY 2001, the President's budget calls on Congress to invest $1 billion in the 21st Century Program and to ensure that all children in failing schools have access to quality after-school and summer school opportunities. This proposal will double funding and nearly triple the number of students served to 2.5 million.

Expanding Access to Technology. With the Vice President's leadership, the Clinton-Gore Administration has made increasing access to technology a top priority. The President and Vice President created 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. They increased overall investments in educational technology from $23 million in 1993 to $769 million in FY 2000, and tripled funding for Community Technology Centers to reach at least 120 low-income communities. Through the E-rate program, they secured low-cost connections to the Internet for schools, libraries, rural health clinics and hospitals, benefiting more than 80 percent of America's public schools. They also increased investment in education research to ensure all children benefit from educational technology. In 1999, 95 percent of public schools were connected to the Internet -- up from 35 percent in 1994. In 1999, 63 percent of all public school classrooms were connected to the Internet -- up from just 3 percent in 1994.

Turning Around Failing Schools. 11 million low-income students in 13,000 school districts now benefit from higher expectations and a challenging curriculum geared to higher standards through Title I-Aid to Disadvantaged Students. The FY 2000 budget provides a $134 million accountability fund to help turn around the worst performing schools and hold them accountable for results through such measures as overhauling curriculum, improving staffing, or even closing schools and reopening them as charter schools. This year, the President is proposing to double funding for this fund to turn around the nation's failing schools to ensure all children receive a quality education.

Placing High-Quality Teachers in Underserved Areas. President Clinton and Vice President Gore won $98 million in the FY 2000 budget to enhance teacher quality and attract teachers to high need, high poverty school districts. This year, the President and Vice President have proposed a new $1 billion teacher quality plan to recruit, train and reward good teachers. The Teaching to High Standards Initiative includes a Hometown Teacher Recruitment program to empower high-poverty school districts to develop programs to recruit homegrown teachers to address the shortage of qualified teachers.

English Literacy/Civics Initiative. The Clinton-Gore budget requests $75 million for the English Language/Civics Initiative -- a nearly $50 million increase to help an additional estimated 250,000 limited English proficient (LEP) individuals. This program helps states and communities provide LEP individuals with expanded access to quality English-language instruction linked to civics and life skills instruction, including understanding the U.S. government system, the public education system, the workplace, and other key institutions of American life.

Strengthening Bilingual and Immigrant Education. The President is committed to ensuring that students with limited English skills get the extra help they need in order to learn English and meet the same high standards expected for all students. The Clinton-Gore Administration fought for and won a 35% increase in bilingual and immigrant education in the 1997 budget deal, and in FY 1999 the Administration fought for and won a doubling of the investments in bilingual teacher training as part of its Hispanic Education Action Plan. Bilingual education funding helps school districts teach English to more than a million limited English proficient (LEP) children and helps LEP students to achieve to the same high standards as all other students. It also provides teachers with the training they need to teach LEP students. The Immigrant Education program helps more than a thousand school districts provide supplemental instructional services to more than 800,000 recent immigrant students. In his proposal to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the President has proposed additional help to ensure that all teachers are well-trained to meet the needs of LEP students. His proposal would also make schools and districts more accountable for helping children with LEP master their academic subjects and learn English. The President's FY 2001 budget increases funding for these programs by an additional $832 million.


More High-Quality Teachers with Smaller Class Sizes. Research proves that children learn more in smaller classes - particularly in the early years. Small classes allow children to receive more individual attention from teachers; acquire a solid foundation for future learning; and learn to read independently by the end of third grade. The Clinton-Gore Administration won a second installment of $1.3 billion for the President's plan to hire an additional 100,000 well-prepared teachers to reduce class size in the early grades, when children learn to read and master the basic skills. This year's budget provides $1.75 billion, a $450 million increase -- enough to fund nearly 49,000 teachers. Nearly 30,000 teachers have already been hired through the Class Size Reduction Initiative.

Expanding Choice and Accountability in Public Schools. The Clinton-Gore Administration has worked to expand public school choice and support the growth of public charter schools, which have increased from one public charter school in the nation when the President was first elected to more than 1,700 today. More than 250,000 students nationwide are now enrolled in charter schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia. The President won $145 million in FY 2000 -- and has proposed $175 million in his FY01 budget -- to continue working toward his goal of establishing 3,000 quality charter schools by 2002.

Teaching Every Child to Read by the 3rd Grade. The President challenged Americans to unite to be sure that every child can read well and independently by the third grade. In response to his America Reads challenge, more than 1,400 colleges have committed more than 26,000 Work Study students to tutor children in reading, and more than two million children have been taught, tutored or mentored by national service programs like AmeriCorps, VISTA, and Foster Grandparents. In addition, colleges and universities that participate in the Federal work-study program must include at least one tutoring or family literacy project as part of its community service activities, giving priority to the employment of work-study students as reading tutors in schools participating in reading reform efforts. Grants are awarded through the Reading Excellence Act to high-poverty schools to improve the teaching and learning of reading.

Helping Students Master Mathematics by the Eighth Grade. President Clinton issued a Presidential Directive to the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation to work together to devise an action strategy for helping students to improve in mathematics. This joint effort led to the creation of America Counts, an initiative to ensure that all students master challenging mathematics, including the foundations of algebra and geometry, by the end of the 8th grade.

Striving for Excellence with National Education Standards. President Clinton has challenged every state to adopt high standards, and to test every 4th grade student in reading and 8th grade student in math so that parents, students, and teacher can tell if students are meeting high standards. Fifteen of the nation's largest urban school districts, as well as six states and the Department of Defense schools have joined the President's effort. The National Assessment Governing Board is developing voluntary national tests for the 4th and 8th grades, and the National Academy of Sciences is conducting studies on these tests.

Setting High Standards with Goals 2000. The National Standards and Testing effort builds upon the success of Goals 2000, President Clinton's education reform initiative enacted in 1994, which helps States establish standards of excellence for all children, and plan and implement steps to raise educational achievement. Communities in virtually every state receive Goals 2000 funds and are using these funds to upgrade the curriculum, improve teaching, increase parental involvement in schools, and make better use of computers in the classroom.

Supporting Local Education Reform Efforts. In April 1999, the President signed into law the Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999 (Ed-Flex) to give all states the ability to use federal resources in ways that best complement local efforts and innovation.


Enacted Hope Scholarships and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits. President Clinton proposed and passed the HOPE Scholarships and Lifetime Learning tax credits, which in 1999 were claimed by an estimated 10 million American families struggling to pay for college. The Hope Scholarship helps make the first two years of college universally available by providing a tax credit of up to $1,500 for tuition and fees for the first two years of college. The Lifetime Learning tax credit provides a 20 percent tax credit on the first $5,000 of tuition and fees for students beyond the first two years of college, or taking classes part-time (in 2003, this increases to $10,000 of tuition and fees). In his FY 2001 budget, the President has proposed expanding the Lifetime Learning tax credit with a College Opportunity tax cut, which will give families the option of taking a tax deduction or claiming a 28 percent credit for the first $5,000 of college tuition and fees through 2002, and $10,000 thereafter.

Expanding Work Study and Pell Grants. One million students will be able to work their way through college because of the President's expansion of the Work Study Program, and nearly four million students will receive a Pell Grant of up to $3,300, the largest maximum award ever. The maximum award has increased 43 percent under the Clinton-Gore Administration. This year President Clinton proposed a $77 million increase in Work Study to continue to support one million awards, and a $200 increase in the Pell Grant maximum award, to raise it to $3,500.

More Affordable Student Loans. This Administration has introduced lower fees and interest rates that have saved the average borrower over $500; more flexible repayment terms, including the option to repay as a share of income; and a restored tax deduction for student loan interest. The new Direct Student Loan program-established in 1994-bypasses federally guaranteed lenders to deliver loans to students more quickly, simply, and cheaply. Together, students and taxpayers have already saved $15 billion through student loan reforms.

Paying for College through Community Service. In just five years, AmeriCorps has allowed 150,000 young people to serve in their communities while earning money for college or skills training. In 1999, nearly 50,000 young people had the opportunity to serve and earn an award of up to $4,725 to pay for college or repay student loans.

Reaching Out to Disadvantaged Students. The TRIO programs are designed to motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds. TRIO includes five distinct outreach programs targeted to serve and assist students as they progress from middle school to post-secondary education. TRIO funding has increased by two-thirds over the past seven years, to $645 million. The President's FY 2001 budget provides $725 million for TRIO, an increase of $80 million to help provide assistance to over 760,000 students, 37,000 more than in 2000.

Established the GEAR-UP Mentoring Program for Middle School Children. President Clinton and Vice President Gore created and expanded GEAR-UP, a nationwide mentoring initiative, to help over 750,000 low-income middle school children finish school and prepare for college. GEAR-UP expands mentoring efforts by states and provides new grants to partnerships of middle schools, institutions of higher education, and community organizations, to provide intensive early intervention services to help prepare over 750,000 students at high-poverty middle schools for college. The President's FY 2001 budget would expand services to 1.4 million students with a 63 percent increase.

Increased Funding and Grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Clinton-Gore Administration increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities by over $260 million between FY 1992 and FY 2000. Today, America's 105 HBCUs are educating almost 300,000 African Americans.

Enacted a Hispanic Education Action Plan. The Clinton-Gore Administration is reaching out to Hispanic youth, encouraging them to stay in school, do well academically and graduate from high school, and go on to college so that they can compete successfully for good jobs. The Administration proposed and won funding increases for a Hispanic Education Action Plan in the FY 1999 budget. As part of this plan, the President and Vice President proposed significant increases in a number of programs that enhance educational opportunity for Hispanic Americans. The final FY 2000 budget agreement included $436 million in increases for programs that help to improve the educational outcomes of Latinos and limited English proficient students, including Title I grants to LEAs, Adult Education, Bilingual Education, and TRIO.

Dual Degree Programs for Minority-Serving Institutions. The Clinton-Gore Administration has proposed a new program to increase opportunities for students at four-year minority-serving institutions. Students would receive two degrees within five years: one from a minority-serving institution, and one from a partner institution in a field in which minorities are underrepresented. This new $40 million program will serve an estimated 3,000 students.

Helping Students Finish College. This year the President has proposed new College Completion Challenge Grants to help reduce the college drop-out rate. Although college enrollment rates have risen, 37 percent of students that go on to post-secondary school drop out before they get a certificate or a degree. The problem is especially acute for minorities: 29 percent of African Americans and 31 percent of Hispanics drop out of college after less than one year, compared to 18 percent of whites. The CCCG program is designed to address this problem with a comprehensive approach including pre-freshman summer programs, support services and increased grant aid to students. This $35 million initiative will improve the chances of success for nearly 18,000 students.


Coordinating the Federal Government's Response to Youth Violence. President Clinton created the White House Council on Youth Violence to coordinate youth violence research and programs throughout the federal government, and to make information derived from the federal government's efforts more accessible to the public. Members of the Council include the Attorney General and the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Education, and Labor, as well as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Preventing Violence With the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative. Evidence shows that a comprehensive, integrated community-wide approach is an effective way to promote healthy childhood and youth development and address the problems of school violence and alcohol and other drug abuse. In 1998, President Clinton signed into law the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative (SS/HS), an unprecedented joint effort involving the Departments of Education, Justice, and Health and Human Services to help communities design and implement comprehensive educational, mental health, social service, law enforcement services for youth. SS/HS has provided $146 million to 77 local education authorities who have established formal partnerships with local mental health and law enforcement agencies. This year, the President has called for a $100 million expansion of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative.

More Police Officers in Schools. President Clinton and Vice President Gore's community policing grants have been used to fund over 2,000 police officers to work in schools. These officers have been targeted to work in the 10 percent of America's schools with serious crime problems.

Keeping Schools Safe and Drug Free. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have increased funding for the Safe and Drug Free Schools program, which provides grants aimed at eliminating violence to schools serving 40 million children. They have also enacted reforms that make sure that federal resources go to schools with the most serious problems. Now the President and Vice President are seeking to require schools receiving funds to adopt comprehensive school safety plans, use proven anti-drug and gang programs, intervene with troubled youth, establish security procedures for schools, and give parents annual school safety reports of drug and violence incidents at their children's school.

Zero Tolerance for Guns and Weapons in Schools. President Clinton and Vice President Gore fought for passage for the Gun Free Schools Act, which requires the expulsion of students caught bringing weapons to schools. In the act's first two years, over 9,000 students were expelled for weapons violations.

Engaging the Private Sector in Youth Violence Prevention: National Campaign Against Youth Violence. In August 1999, President Clinton announced the formation of an independent, national campaign to engage the private sector in addressing the problem of youth violence. The Campaign has developed anti-violence activities including a major media campaign, concerts, town hall meetings, and in-school and after-school programs. The Campaign also highlights effective youth violence initiatives in cities across the country.

Updated July 2000

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