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February 23, 1998

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"Every American who is willing to work and study hard can now afford college... We've thrown open the doors to higher learning. Now, we must continue working to make sure all our children can walk through them and seize the opportunities of the future. That is why in my balanced budget, I am proposing the largest commitment to K-12 education in history -- a comprehensive plan to raise standards, raise expectations and raise accountability in our schools."

President Bill ClintonFebruary 20, 1998

Today, President Clinton hosts a round table discussion with members of the National Governors' Association to discuss a variety of topics, including education, transportation, tobacco, workforce development and child care. At the beginning of the session, the President calls on the Governors to join him in making K-12 education a top priority -- by taking steps to reduce class size, modernize and build new schools, pass national standards, end the practice of social promotion, and continue education reform.

Keeping Education A Top Priority. The President's balanced budget proposal includes historic investments in K-12 education, including initiatives to:

  • Reduce Class Size. The President's budget includes a $12.4 billion initiative over 7 years to help local schools provide small classes with qualified teachers in the early grades. The initiative will reduce class size in grades 1-3 to a nationwide average of 18, and will help local school districts hire an additional 100,000 well-prepared teachers.
  • Modernize And Build Schools To Improve Student Learning. In order for students to learn and compete in the global economy, schools must be well-equipped and able to accommodate smaller class sizes. The President is proposing federal tax credits to modernize and build more than 5,000 new schools -- half of this support will be allocated to the 100 school districts with the largest number of low-income students.
  • Achieve High Standards. The President's balanced budget includes proposals to ensure that all students attend schools where high standards are taken seriously and kids are given the help they need to succeed. It supports the continued development and implementation of high national standards and national tests, and establishes educational opportunity zones in poor urban and rural communities to give students the tools and opportunities needed for success.
  • End The Practice Of Social Promotion. No child should be allowed to pass to the next grade unless he or she has mastered the material. President Clinton is calling on the Secretary of Education to issue guidelines on how schools can end social promotion, boost efforts to ensure more students learn what they need the first time round, and help those who don't with extra tutoring and summer school.
  • Use Education Reform To Give Communities What Their Schools Need. President Clinton will send legislation to Congress to expand Ed-Flex, the program that frees states from federal regulations so long as they set high academic standards, waive their own regulations for local schools, and hold schools accountable for results.

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