President Clinton Calls on Congress to Act on America's Education Priorities
October 5, 2000
President Clinton Also Releases New Class Size Reduction Report
Today, President Clinton will meet with Congressional Democrats to discuss the progress of the budget negotiations on America's education priorities, and release a new class-size report by the Council of Great City Schools. The report demonstrates that the effective use of federal class size reduction funds to hire highly qualified teachers in the early grades helps improve student achievement in urban areas, and highlights the urgent need for Congress to ensure our children receive the first-class education they deserve. President Clinton will urge Congress to make critical education investments to help communities modernize crumbling schools, hire 100,000 high-quality teachers to lower class sizes, increase after-school opportunities, and expand college opportunity for all Americans. He will also call on Congress to demand more from our schools by helping districts turn around failing schools and enact his $1 billion Teacher Quality proposal to improve teacher recruitment, professional development, and increase the number of certified teachers in America's classrooms.
RAISING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT BY REDUCING CLASS SIZES. Last year, Congress made a down payment of $1.3 billion toward President Clinton's goal of hiring 100,000 new teachers to bring class size down to a national average of 18 in the early grades. Overall, the federal initiative is helping 1.7 million young children benefit from smaller, more personalized classes. The report by the Council of Great City Schools provides further proof that the Clinton-Gore Administration's investments to reduce class sizes are making a difference. This report shows that 32 of our nation's largest urban school districts received almost $213 million in federal class size funds for the 2000-2001 school year, and approximately 3,354 new first, second, and third-grade teachers were hired to teach in these schools. More than three-quarters of this funding was devoted to hiring new teachers in grades one, two, and three, with the remainder used to improve teacher recruitment and professional development. Through an analysis of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the report also notes that reducing class sizes from 24 to 18 can improve student NAEP scores in urban areas by more than 5 points.
INVESTING IN AMERICA'S PRIORITIES AND DEMANDING RESULTS IS WORKING. Indicators show that the Clinton-Gore plan to invest in proven education strategies and insist on accountability for results is helping more students reach high standards. Under this Administration, the federal investment in education and training programs has more than doubled and student achievement is improving. For example:
- Since 1992, reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have increased for fourth, eighth, and twelfth graders, including students in the highest poverty schools.
- The achievement gap between low-income and minority students and their peers is on the decline.
- Math SAT scores are at a thirty-year high. The average SAT math score has gone from 501 in 1992 to 514 in 2000, and the average verbal score has gone from 500 to 505.
- More students are taking a rigorous high school curriculum and pursuing a higher education than a decade ago.
CALLING ON CONGRESS TO INVEST IN AMERICA'S EDUCATION PRIORITIES. The President will reiterate the urgent need for the Republican Leadership to act immediately to pass a budget that meets the education needs of our students. The Clinton-Gore Administration sent Congress a balanced and fiscally responsible budget in February that makes investments in key education initiatives, including: continuing our commitment to hire 100,000 quality teachers to reduce class sizes, repairing our crumbling schools, increasing the number of certified teachers in America's classrooms, strengthening accountability for turning around failing schools, expanding after-school opportunities, and preparing 1.3 million at-risk children for college through GEAR UP. The Republican leadership has proposed an education budget that shortchanges America's students by failing to provide adequate funds to ensure that states and local communities have the resources they need to provide our students with the high quality education they deserve. Republicans in Congress still have not sent the President an education budget, and today the President will again call on the Republican Leadership to send him an education budget that invests more and demands more from our schools.