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March 19, 1998

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In less than 650 days, we will enter a new century, on our way to a new millennium. At a time when we are doing everything we can to prepare our children for the opportunities of the new century, we cannot let guns, drugs, and violence stand between our children and the education they need to make the most of their lives.

- President Bill Clinton
March 19, 1998

Today, President Clinton announces the findings of the first-ever national survey of school violence and discipline in the U.S. He reviews the recommendations being made to increase school safety and announces the availability of $17.5 million in new funding for school safety efforts.

Keeping America's Schools Safe. America's public schools can be the best in the world, but they can only be good if they are safe. A nationwide report on school safety released today shows that the majority of American public schools are free of serious, violent crime. But many schools still face less serious crimes such as theft, vandalism and fights. To address this problem President Clinton is:

  • Making $17.5 million available for a new community policing program that funds partnerships between law enforcement, schools and community groups to develop innovative approaches to reduce crime on or near school grounds;
  • Announcing the framework of a new school safety report being developed by the Justice and Education Departments that principals, parents and local officials can use to address their school crime problems.
Making American Education The Best In The World. The President's balanced budget proposal includes historic investments in K-12 education that will upgrade the quality of education and the environment in which our children learn. His initiatives include:
  • Reduce Class Size. The President's budget includes a $12.4 billion initiative over 7 years to reduce class size in grades 1-3 to a nationwide average of 18, and help local school districts hire an additional 100,000 well-prepared teachers.
  • Modernize And Build Schools To Improve Student Learning. 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 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. 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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