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June 17, 1998

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We all agree that our children should have teachers and responsible adults as role models, not drug dealers and gang leaders. I am confident that Congress will act soon to fully fund the 21st Century Learning Centers Initiative, and help our children say no to drugs, alcohol, and crime, and yes to reading, soccer, computers and a brighter future. That is the kind of bipartisan support America needs to meet our greatest national challenges. Whenever we choose progress over partisan politics, the American people win.

President Bill Clinton
June 17, 1998

Today, at a Rose Garden event, President Clinton is joined by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Attorney General Janet Reno, Secretary of Education Richard Riley, Senator James Jeffords (R-VT), and Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-IA) in announcing new grants to establish and expand after-school programs across the country through the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program. The President will also release a report by the Departments of Justice and Education which shows that after-school programs can work to lower juvenile crime rates, reduce tobacco, drug, and alcohol use among children and improve academic performance.

A Demand For After-School Programs. Reports show that over 28 million school-age children have both parents, or their only parent in the workforce. At least 5 million, and possibly as many as 15 million children are left alone at home each week. Incidents of violent crime by juveniles more than double in the hour after most schools let out and our children are at the greatest risk of being the victim of a violent crime in the hours immediately after school lets out. Experts agree that school-age children who are unsupervised during the hours after school are far more likely to use drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, commit crimes, receive poor grades and drop out of school than those who are involved in supervised, constructive activities.

A Presidential Plan For Action. Today, the President announces new grants to establish 21st Century Community Learning Center after-school programs for our nation's children. The grants will be disbursed to 315 schools in 36 states who will provide programs for children after school, and during the weekends and summers, in safe, drug-free and supervised environments. This was one of the most competitive grant programs ever managed by the Department of Education; over 2,000 applications were received, but only 1 of 20 applicants could be funded.

After-School Programs Can Reduce Juvenile Crime And Boost Academic Performance. The President will release a new report issued by the Departments of Justice and Education, which shows the positive effects after-school programs can have on children:

  • Many communities that have adopted after-school initiatives have experienced lower juvenile crime rates and lower tobacco, drug, and alcohol use among young people;

  • Quality after-school programs improve academic performance -- helping more children stay in school, increasing aspirations for college, and lowering the number of children who must be kept back.

A Child Care Agenda For The 21st Century. The President's child care agenda proposes a dramatic investment in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program to benefit up to one-half million children each year. The President's proposal requires that schools work closely with community organizations in establishing these programs, and provides funding for community-based organizations to establish or expand their own after-school programs. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program is part of the President's historic child care initiative to help families pay for child care, improve the safety and quality of care, and promote early learning.

21st Century Community Learning Centers: 1998 Awards

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June 17, 1998

21st Century Community Learning Centers: 1998 Awards