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April 8, 1998: Building Strong, Modern Schools for the 21st Century

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Every child in America must have the opportunity to learn in facilities they can be proud of... modern, state of the art schools that can help keep class sizes down and restore discipline to the classroom, schools and teachers that can inspire young imaginations, spur ambitions and open doors to a future full of possibility.

- President Bill Clinton
April 8, 1998

Today, President Clinton travels to Chicago, Illinois to highlight his K-12 education agenda and to emphasize the importance of reducing class size and modernizing and building new schools. Also during the day, Chicago and 20 other communities hold forums on school construction and report their findings to the Vice President.

The Largest Commitment To K-12 Education In History. The President's balanced budget proposal includes historic investments in K-12 education, including initiatives to:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Identifying How New And Modern Schools Can Best Meet Students' Needs. As part of an effort organized by Vice President Gore, officials and organizations across the Nation are holding community forums today and throughout the month to highlight the need for school construction and modernization, and to talk about how newly built or modernized schools can best meet children and community needs.
  • Vice President Gore will hold a conference call today linking these forums. Many of these forums will occur today, culminating in a conference call with the Vice President, to report on the results of the forums. (1-888-836-6072, 1:00 p.m. EST.)
  • Today's forums take place all across the country in cities including: Los Angeles, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Des Moines, IA; San Antonio, TX; Cleveland, OH; Charlotte, NC; Hattiesburg, MS; Orlando and Miami, FL; Loudoun County, VA; Wilmington, DE; Baltimore, MD; Pittsburgh, PA; Rochester and Buffalo, NY; Paterson, NJ; Providence, RI; Portland, ME; Springfield and Salem, MA.

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