Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
IN ANNOUNCEMENT OF TECHNOLOGY LEARNING GRANTS
The Roosevelt Room
9:28 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. Vice President, for your outstanding work on this issue. And thank you, Secretary Riley and Secretary Brown, for your work as well.
I want to say a few more things about the people behind me and those in front of me, but if I might, in the beginning, I think it would be appropriate for me to make a few comments about what has happenedto the Amtrak train in Arizona.
We believe it was a case of sabotage. And I am profoundlyoutraged by it. I want to make it clear that we will doeverything we can with the federal government to catch whoever is responsible. I am determined that we will make sure that in the United States we will have the tools, the means we need to keep the American people safe. We will get to the bottom of this. We will punish those who are responsible. We will not tolerate acts of cowardice like this in the United States, regardless of the motive.
And when I know more about it, I'll be glad to commentmore about it.
I have just finished a meeting, along with the Vice President and other members of our administration, with leaders who are here behind me, leaders of many of the American companies on the cutting edgeof the Information Age. They are helping to lead our nation into theworld of the 21st century as the strongest economic power in the world.
Two and a half weeks ago in California, I met with someother business leaders, and I called on the representatives ofbusiness, government, teachers, schools, parents, students, to becomeinvolved in a high-tech venture with a guaranteed return. I asked for anational public-private partnership to connect every classroom in Americato the information superhighway by the year 2000.
This today, this meeting, is the next step. Today these business and education leaders have joined with me to launch apartnership that will ensure that every child in America is technologicallyliterate for the dawn of the 21st century, and that every child in Americahas the resources, the means, by which to become technologically literateby the dawn of the 21st century.
The idea that every child deserves the opportunity tobuild a bright future has been at the heart of America's education systemand America's entire value system. Education is the way we keep thepromise of the American Dream to all of our children without regard totheir circumstances.
Today, that means computers, knowing how to make themost of them, having teachers who can work with students to make the mostof them, and having the right software to make the computers make sense.
Technological literacy must become the standard in ourcountry. Preparing children for a lifetime of computer use isjust as essential today as teaching them the basics of reading, writingand arithmetic.
This isn't just computers for computers' sake. We're goingto work together to help our schools use technology to revolutionizeAmerican education so that all children will be able to learnbetter and teachers will be able to be more effective.
In the next few months, the leaders here behind me will beworking with us to produce a plan based on the four pillars Ioutlined in California: modern computers in every classroom, accessible toevery student from kindergarten through the 12th grade; connectionsfrom every classroom to the incredible educational resources flowingthroughout the world; teachers in every classroom who are trained to make themost of new technology to educate every student. And I want to emphasize oneof the most important aspects of the technological revolution is theopportunities being opened to children so many Americans hadgiven up on and schools that too many Americans had given up on. Andfinally, a rich array of educational software and information resources.
Today, I'm announcing three steps forward that show weare turning these principles into reality. First, we're awardingTechnology Learning Challenge Grants to 19 communities. In each communitythere's a partnership of educators, businesses, libraries, museums andcommunity groups that have come together to retool their schools for the21st century. They are matching these grants. They are committinghardware and software, hard work, and know-how. For example, in Dover,Delaware, Bell Atlantic, Lightspan Partnership and the State EducationDepartment are linking homes and schools through family tv sets to improvereading and arithmetic in the early grades. This is how thesepartnerships willwork.
Let me say that it costs a very modest amount of money. This is one of the discussions we have to have in the weeks ahead aswe continue our progress toward a balanced budget. We can balancethe budget without cutting back on our commitment to our educational future. For a very small amount of national money, we are leveraging muchlarger amounts of local resources. And I would say again, this is the kind of thing that the nation ought to be doing now in the area of education and the sort of thing I will be trying to preserve as we negotiate the shelves of the budget discussions.
The second thing I want to announce is a private sectoreffort making a difference in one state is now going nationwide. We must rely on the expertise of millions of Americans working in thehigh-tech professions. The Technology Corps brings private sectorvolunteers into our schools so that they can bring technology into ourclassrooms. It's already working in Massachusetts where it was started by Gary Beach, who is here with us today, to connect Massachusetts schools. And now we want to do this around the country.
Finally, we're launching the American Technology HonorSociety to harness the high-tech skills of exceptional studentsso they can help to expand their own school's use of technology. We haveto remember that people born in the Information Age are morecomfortable with it than people like me, who weren't. (Laughter.)
The American Technology Honor Society will be rooted inthe National Honor Society, and it will be run by the NationalAssociation of Secondary School Principals. Communities, businesses andgovernments; parents, teachers and students -- this could be the largestmerger in history, with no questions from the Justice Department. (Laughter.) Certainly it will be the most important partnership for thefuture in the United States today, working together to put a computer in every classroom, and a computer whiz at every desk.
Every child in America deserves the chance to get thehigh-tech know-how to unlock the promises of the 21st century. Every child in America. And thanks to the statesmanship and vision ofthe people who are here with me today and many like them all aroundAmerica, we are going to forge a partnership to do just that.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore