THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
April 19, 1997
Download in .au format (~3 Mb)
RADIO ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE VICE PRESIDENT TO THE
The Oval Office
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Vice President Gore and I are here in
the Oval Office on the second national NetDay, when citizens and communities
all across America come together to help us meet the goal of connecting every
classroom and library in the United States to the Internet by the year 2000.
With us today are three AmeriCorps members, two local high school students and
two Communication Workers of America volunteers, all of whom are contributing
to this effort.
NetDay is a great example of how America works best when we all work
together. It's like an old-fashioned barn-raising, neighbor joins with neighbor
to do something for the good of the entire community. Students, teachers,
parents, community groups, government, business unions -- all pulling together
to pull cable, hook up our schools and put the future at the fingertips of all
our young people.
Once we reach our goal of linking our schools to the Internet, for
the first time in history, children in the most isolated rural schools, the
most comfortable suburbs, the poorest inner-city schools, all of them will have
the same access to the same universe of knowledge. That means a boy in Lake
Charles, Louisiana can visit a museum halfway around the world, a girl in
Juneau, Alaska can visit the Library of Congress on line.
Since the first NetDay just over a year ago, nearly a quarter million
volunteers have wired 50,000 classrooms around our country. Today, NetDay
activities are occurring in more than 40 states. In a few minutes, Vice
President Gore and I will have a chance to use a new video and computer
technology set up for the first time right in the Oval Office to meet with
volunteers in South Central, Los Angeles, and children in Hartford,
Connecticut. I want to thank them and all the NetDay volunteers for their
service to our country.
We have to do everything we can to make technology literacy a reality
for every child in America. That's why I asked the Federal Communications
Commission to give our schools and libraries a discount -- a special "E rate,"
or education rate -- to help them connect classrooms to the Internet and to
stay on line. On May 6, the FCC will vote on a plan to provide more than $2
billion in yearly E-rate discounts for schools and libraries. This can make all
the difference for communities struggling to make sure their students are ready
for the 21st century. So today, again, I call on the FCC to approve this plan
and give our children access to this new world of knowledge. Now, more than
ever, we can't afford for our children to be priced out of cyberspace.
But connecting young people to the Internet is not enough. We have to
make sure that when they log on they have access to the information that will
prepare them for the world of the future. And government has a vital role to
play in all this.
For instance, NASA lets students talk to astronauts on the Internet.
And Vice President Gore's GLOBE project gives tomorrow's environmental
scientists a chance to interact with the scientists of today. Today I am
directing every department and agency in our national government to develop
educational Internet services targeted to our young people. With this action,
we are one step closer to giving young people the tools they need to be the
best they can be in the 21st century.
We owe much of our progress thus far to the efforts of the Vice
President. He has led our national campaign for technology literacy, and I'd
like him to say a few words now.
Mr. Vice President.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much, Mr. President.
One of the steps we're taking to connect America's schoolchildren to
the future is to provide local communities the resources they need. Last year
we launched the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund, $200 million to do just
that. Your balanced budget plan proposes to more than double these funds in the
Today we're awarding $11.8 million in Technology Literacy Challenge
grants to seven states -- Alaska, Connecticut, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, South
Dakota, and Tennessee. We're also making awards to two territories and to the
schools of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. These grants represent seed money that
states can use to connect all of our children to the 21st century.
Some states will train teachers how to incorporate the Internet into
their lesson plans. Others will invest in cutting-edge software. Still others
will purchase PCs, modems, and all sorts of computer hardware. Already this
year, our Technology Literacy Initiative has awarded states $57 million, which
is helping thousands more young people use the Internet to research school
assignments and communicate with students all around the world.
I'd also like to say a special thanks to all of the Americans
participating today in NetDay '97. President Clinton and I participated in
California's NetDay last year, and we really had a great time, pulling cable,
drilling holes, helping to connect Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord,
California, to the Information Superhighway.
By the way, anyone interested in learning more about NetDay or what
President Clinton and I are doing to connect classrooms can visit our Web site
on the Internet. With your home computer, or the computer at your local
library, just point your Web browser to this address: www.whitehouse.gov. Let
me say it again -- these addresses sound funny if you haven't used the Internet
-- www.whitehouse -- that's one word -- .gov.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
Both of us encourage all of you to visit the White House home page.
And once again, let me thank all the NetDay volunteers. We are going to meet
our goal -- we're going to get every classroom and every library in this
country hooked up by the year 2000.
Have a great day and thanks for listening.