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Announcing New Steps to Support Charter Schools

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Thursday, May 4, 2000


"The charter school movement, if it works, can help to save public education in this country, by proving that excellence can be provided to all children from all backgrounds, no matter what experiences they bring to the school in the first place."

President Bill Clinton
Thursday, May 4, 2000

Today, on the final day of his School Reform Tour, President Clinton visited City Academy public charter school in St.Paul, Minnesota, to draw attention to the success of the charter school movement and to unveil new steps to help charter schools. The President concluded his tour at Eastgate Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, where he participated in a roundtable discussion on proven methods for raising student achievement. The President called on Congress to pass an education budget and education accountability bill that invest in our nation's schools and demand more from them.

HIGHLIGHTING THE SUCCESS OF CHARTER SCHOOLS. Charter schools are public schools that are granted some freedom from regulations governing other public schools in exchange for a commitment to meet or exceed a state's academic standards. City Academy is the nation's first charter school and was the only charter school in operation when President Clinton was first elected in 1992. Thanks in part to the Clinton-Gore Administration's leadership, there are now over 1,700 charter schools. During his visit to City Academy, the President:

  • Released an Executive Memorandum directing the Secretary of Education to develop guidelines for businesses and faith-based organizations to help charter schools succeed;
  • Announced the release of $16 million in new grants and $121 million in continuation grants for charter schools;
  • Participated in an online webside chat with students from around the country; and
  • Commemorated National Charter Schools Week (May 1-5) by challenging communities to create more high-quality public charter schools to increase choice and competition in public education.

The President's FY 2001 budget includes a $30 million increase in funding for charters, bringing total funding to $175 million annually.

CONDUCTING A ROUNDTABLE ON WHAT WORKS. At Eastgate Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, proven strategies of improving teacher quality, reducing class size, expanding after-school and summer school programs, and raising standards have boosted student achievement. By demanding more through high standards and real accountability, and by investing more in smaller classes, reading, and teacher quality, the Columbus Public Schools are achieving measurable results in some of their lowest-performing schools. On his visit to Eastgate, President Clinton:

  • Held a roundtable discussion with educators, parents, and students on successful strategies for increasing student performance;
  • Highlighted the positive impact of his initiative to hire 100,000 new teachers to reduce class size in the early grades;
  • Called on Congress to follow Columbus's lead by passing an education budget and education accountability bill that invest in our nation's schools and demand more from them.

WORKING TO SUPPORT SCHOOL REFORMS. The President has sent a plan to Congress that would invest in successful strategies such as reducing class size, expanding after-school and summer school programs, modernizing schools, and improving teacher quality. The President has also sent Congress strong accountability legislation that would continue the work of identifying low-performing schools, require states to end out-of-field teaching, ensure that all students can meet high standards, and require school report cards for parents. The President's budget includes a $4.5 billion increase in education funding - up 12 percent from last year.

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