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January 26, 1999

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There is nothing more important to America's future than investing in our children. Our investment will help ensure that our children show up to school on their first day ready and eager to learn.

Vice President Al Gore
January 26, 1999

Today, Vice President Al Gore announces that the Clinton Administration's budget proposal for fiscal year 2000 will include a $607 million increase in Head Start, which would be the largest increase in Head Start ever enacted. This funding will help enroll an additional 42,000 children, including 7,000 children under three-years old, and strengthen the quality of this important child development program.

Ensuring That When Children Start School They Are Ready To Learn. Under the leadership of President Clinton and Vice President Gore, Head Start has become America's premier early childhood development program, ensuring that low-income children start school ready to learn. Since President Clinton and Vice President Gore took office, enrollment in Head Start has increased by 200,000, reaching 835,000 children, and last year, the President signed the Head Start Amendments of 1998, bipartisan legislation that reauthorized the Head Start program and built on the Administration's commitment to improve and expand Head Start.

Expanding Access And Enrolling More Children In Head Start. Today, the Vice President will announce that the Clinton Administration's fiscal year 2000 budget will strengthen the quality of the Head Start program while allowing more children to enroll in the program:

  • Increased Funding For Head Start To Enroll 42,000 More Children. The Clinton Administration is proposing to expand Head Start funding to reach 42,000 more children, bringing the total number of children in Head Start to 877,000, well on the way to the Clinton Administration's goal of serving one million children by 2002;
  • Expanding Access For Infants And Toddlers. The Clinton Administration's plan will expand Early Head Start, which serves low-income families with children under three years old, by covering an additional 7,000 children;
  • Ensuring Quality In The Head Start Program. The Clinton Administration's plan continues to strengthen the quality of Head Start, promote school readiness and family literacy, and improve staff training and credentialing. These initiatives build on prior improvements implemented by the Clinton Administration, including attracting and retaining high quality teachers and ensuring the safety of Head Start centers.

Improving Education And Making Child Care More Affordable. Today's announcement builds on the initiatives outlined in the President's State of the Union address to improve education and make child care better, safer, and more affordable for America's working families. President Clinton and Vice President Gore are proposing:

  • To reduce class size to a national average of 18 in the early grades by hiring 100,000 well-prepared teachers;
  • To expand after-school and summer school programs for more than one million additional students;
  • To raise standards in education by ending social promotion, ensuring that teachers are well-qualified and that states turn around their lowest-performing schools;
  • To strengthen child care through enhanced subsidies for low-income working families, greater tax relief for low- and middle- income families, additional resources to improve child care quality, and new tax relief for parents who choose to stay at home with their young children.

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