October 11, 1995
An Open Letter to Parents:
In order for use to ensure that all our children have their shot at theAmerican dream, we need to empower them with the technological literacy they'llneed to succeed in a new and ever-changing information economy. By 2000, 60% ofthe new jobs in America will require advanced technological skills. Unfortunately, only 20% of our workforce possesses these skills today.
We have a long way to go, but there is no better place to start than in ourschools. While our workplaces are moving swiftly into the information age, ourclassrooms are not keeping pace.
Today, millions of children have more contact with technology in anafternoon at the video arcade than they do all year in school. We need tochange that. We need companies to develop software that is as exciting to learnfrom as video games like Mortal Kombat are to play. We need schoolsequipped with the right technology.
If we fail to ensure that all our children are technologically literate, ournation will be poorer economically and spiritually. We will allow our nation toface a new divide -- the divide between those children who have access totechnology and those who never have.
That is why we are calling on parents, teachers, leading CEOs and others tojoin us in a new national mission. Today, we set a new challenge for America:As we enter the 21st century, every young person should enter the workforcetechnologically literate.
The four pillars of our challenge are quite simple:
- Modern computers andlearning devices will be accessible to every student.
- Classrooms will beconnected to one another and to the outside world.
- Teachers will be readyto use and teach technology.
- Educational software will be an integral partof the curriculum -- and as engaging as the best video game.
Last month we demonstrated how citizens and corporations can work togetherto meet this national challenge. Through the private sector, by the end of thisschool year all K-12 schools in California will have access to a world ofknowledge via the Internet, and fully 20% of the classrooms will be connected tothe information superhighway.
But California is only the beginning. On Tuesday, we discussed these issueswith corporate CEOs, including Ted Turner, George Lucas, Michael Eisner andGerald Levin and asked for their input on how we can best develop apublic-private plan to ensure that all our children are ready for the 21stcentury. Please write to us with your ideas and join us in meeting thisnational challenge.
Bill Clinton, President@Whitehouse.gov and
Al Gore, Vice.President@Whitehouse.gov