The Clinton Presidency: Expanding Education Opportunity

The Clinton Presidency:
Expanding Education Opportunity


President Clinton and Vice President Gore have made improving education a cornerstone of their Administration, working to ensure that all Americans have the educational opportunities necessary to succeed in todayís global information economy. Through their leadership, the President and Vice President have helped raise expectations for all students, supported states in developing and putting in place rigorous standards and systems of assessment and accountability, and invested in proven strategies to improve the educational performance of all students. President Clinton and Vice President Goreís commitment to invest more in our schools while also demanding more from them more has led to remarkable progress in key areas such as implementing standards and accountability, improving student performance, closing the achievement gap, expanding access to technology, and making higher education more affordable.

Raising Standards and Holding Schools Accountable for Results

THEN: Falling test scores and low expectations.
In 1992, test scores were falling and only 14 states had standards in core subjects. In 1990, only 38 percent of graduating high schools seniors had taken a core curriculum of four years of English and three years each of Math, Science and Social Studies. Fewer than 80 percent of the nationís highest-poverty schools received Title I funds, which are intended to aid the most disadvantaged schools. And students in many disadvantaged schools faced watered-down curricula and low expectations instead of high standards that challenged them to succeed.
NOW: High standards, accountability and rising test scores.
President Clinton and Vice President Gore launched an era of education reform based on setting high standards for all schools and students and providing the support to meet them. Higher standards have begun to pay off for Americaís students. Since 1992, reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have increased for 4th, 8th, and 12th graders, including those students in the highest poverty schools. Math SAT scores are at a 30-year high.
  • President Clinton and Vice President Gore enacted Goals 2000 which has helped States establish standards of excellence for all children, and implement steps to meet those standards and to raise educational achievement. Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, 49 states have implemented standards in core subjects and the proportion of graduating high schools seniors completing a core curriculum has risen to 55 percent.
  • The President enacted legislation targeting Title I funds to high-poverty schools and requiring States and school districts to turn around low-performing schools. Today, nearly all of the nationís highest-poverty schools receive Title I funds. In 1999, the President enacted a new $134 million Accountability Fund, which is helping school districts improve low-performing schools by investing in proven reforms. Next yearís budget increases this fund to $225 million.
  • The Clinton-Gore Administration has worked to expand public school choice and to support the growth of public charter schools. In 1993, there was one charter school in the nation; today, there are more than 2,000.
  • President Clinton fought for a won a new initiative to repair Americaís schools, providing $1.2 billion for urgent school renovation. The 2001 budget also provides much-needed repair funds to Native American schools.

Clinton-Gore Reforms Are Improving Americaís Schools

"Over the last eight years, President Clinton has proven a friend to education. Increased funding for critical investments, such as teacher development, greater resources and reduced class sizes, are just several contributions. Because of new investments in teacher quality, the staff at my school received intensive professional development in reading instruction that led to more effective teaching and improved test scores in all subjects. Additionally, our children now have access to the Internet in all of our classrooms, and our class sizes are decreasing from 25 to 18, allowing teachers to spend more time on individualized instruction and encouragement."
Ruth Summerlin, Principal, Bascomb Elementary School, Woodstock, Georgia. Ruth Summerlin was the Principal at Beaufort Elementary School in Beaufort, South Carolina for seven years before moving to Georgia. Beaufort Elementary serves a predominantly low-income population of 573 students in grades Pre-K through 5, and six years ago was classified as one of the worst 200 schools in South Carolina. After implementing a five-year school improvement plan, Beaufort Elementary has now been named a Blue Ribbon School. Test scores for the 1998-99 academic year indicated that their students were above the district and state averages in both reading and math. Beaufort has both after-school and summer school programs for remediation in both reading and math.


Administrationís Efforts Produce Dramatic Charter School Expansion

"The charter school movement is one of the Administrationís most important legacies. Its support for charter schools as a desirable and effective form of public school choice has helped convince millions of people, from State legislators to civil rights legend Rosa Parks to Arizonaís teacher of the year Karen Butterfield, that the charter movement has great value. . . . The dramatic expansion of charter schools from one State and one school to 36 States and 1,700 schools is a direct result of the Administrationís vigorous efforts."
Joe Nathan, Senior Fellow and Director, Center for Social Change, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota


Improving the Quality of Education with High Quality Teachers

THEN: High class size and low investment in teacher quality.
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the federal government cut and continuously underfunded assistance for teacher recruitment and training, setting the stage for anemic investments in this priority for years to come. Large class sizes made it difficult for teachers to maintain order or give students the personal attention they need to ensure they learn the basics. In 1992, fewer than 80 percent of English and Math teachers had a college major or minor in their teaching field, and only 282 teachers were certified as National Board Teachers as recently as 1995.
NOW: Helping communities hire 100,000 quality teachers to reduce class size.
The Clinton-Gore Administration has made the recruitment, preparation, and training of high-quality teachers a priority, and investments in these programs have increased more than ten-fold since the 1980s. President Clinton and Vice President Gore proposed and enacted the Class Size Reduction Initiative, which is helping communities hire 100,000 qualified teachers to reduce class size in the early grades. They created Troops to Teachers in 1994 to help improve public school education by introducing the skills and experience of military service members into high-poverty schools. They won $567 million for teacher quality initiatives in the FY 2001 budget, investing in teacher development, recruitment, and retention, expanding Troops to Teachers to other mid-career professionals; and training early childhood educators. Thanks in part to the Clinton-Gore Administrationís support of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the number of National Board Teachers has climbed to 4,804 in 1999. And in 1999, 86 percent of English teachers and 82 percent of Math teachers had a major or minor in their teaching field.

Clinton-Gore Reforms Are Improving Americaís Schools

"I have seen many education initiatives come and go over my 20 years of teaching but I have only a strong opinion on one. Anyone who teaches or mentors a child wishes they had more time to impact their life. We however cannot alter the laws of the universe and create more hours in the day. The simple and doable solution for making this extra time is President Clinton's class-size reduction initiative. Because we have more teachers teaching reading we have more time with the students each years. I have taught grades 1-5 but because of President Clintonís vision, I am now a reading initiative teacher. I can now work with staff and students at a variety of ages and ability levels to meet the goals of our reading program. The Presidentís initiative has made it possible to create classrooms of 15 students or less at our school to ensure success for every student. My students will learn better this year because I have more time to spend with them and I will have more time thanks to President Clinton."
Robin Davis, Elementary School Teacher. Robin Davis is a reading teacher at Brooke Grove Elementary Olney, Maryland. She was hired with funds from the Presidentís class size reduction initiative.


Expanding Access to Technology in Schools

THEN: Educational technology a low priority.
A decade ago, computers were largely luxuries found only in the most affluent school districts. In 1993, only three percent of classrooms had computers that were connected to the Internet, and in 1994 only 35 percent of public schools had Internet access. Students had little opportunity to learn to use computers and to explore the Internet, and the government had not mobilized its resources to expand the use of technology in our schools.
NOW: Historic investments in educational technology lead to 95 percent of public schools connected to the Internet.
Understanding the critical importance of incorporating technology into the classroom and ensuring equal opportunity for students to benefit from technology, the Clinton-Gore Administration made increasing access to technology in our schools a top priority. President Clinton and Vice President Gore created the E-rate and the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund to help connect every school to the Internet, increase the number of multimedia computers in the classroom and provide technology training for teachers. In addition, with the Vice Presidentís leadership the E-rate has secured low-cost connections to the Internet for libraries, rural health clinics and hospitals, providing discounts worth over $2 billion annually. The number of classrooms connected to the Internet increased to 65 percent in 1999, while the number of public schools connected rose to more than 95 percent. President Clinton and Vice President Gore increased our investment in educational technology by over 3,600 percent — from $23 million in FY 1993 to $872 million in FY 2001.

Education Technology Connects Students to New Opportunities

"The Internet allowed my students to go to a place and learn about something they could never have done before. The Internet erases boundaries of age and class. Everyone can access it in an equal way. In Paradise, this is especially important because of the limitations some of these children face."
Beth Paterson, fourth-grade teacher at Paradise Elementary, California. Paradise Elementary is a part of the Paradise Unified School District, which serves Paradise and Magalia, an isolated and rural community in the foothills of Californiaís Sierra Nevada Mountains with a significant low-income population. The E-Rate has allowed Paradise to build $300,000 of network infrastructure, network computers and install T-1 lines.


Keeping Young People on the Path to Success

THEN: Too few students aim high, graduate from high school and attend college.
In 1992, achievement for low-income high school students was lower than that of the national norm. Just 62 percent of high school graduates — and only 44 percent of low-income high school graduates — went on to college.
NOW: College preparation efforts and college-going rates increase
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have invested in our young people to keep them in school and on the path to a successful future. President Clinton created GEAR UP, a nationwide college preparation and mentoring initiative, to provide early, sustained intervention and extra financial help to disadvantaged students. Now GEAR UP is helping 700,000 low-income middle school children finish school and prepare for college academically and financially; with increases included in the FY 2001 budget, the program will help 2.1 million students. Funding for the TRIO programs to help disadvantaged youth prepare for college has increased by $342 million. President Clinton has also increased investments in after school programs, which have provided enriching after school and summer school opportunities for 850,000 school-age children in rural and urban communities and will serve 1.3 million children nationwide with increases in this yearís budget. In addition, the $15 million Advanced Placement Incentive initiative encourages low-income students to take AP classes and tests by paying test fees and strengthening instruction. The AP Initiative has already helped over 100,000 students. In 1998, the number of high school graduates going on to college had increased to 66 percent; by 1997, the number of low-income high school graduates going to college was up to 51 percent.

GEAR UP Helps Students Aim High

"Now I know what it takes to fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher. I am more focused than ever and there's no stopping me now!"
Toya Doe, 7th grade GEAR UP student at Sulzberger Middle School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Through GEAR UP, Toya has focused on her studies, learned more about college, and has been introduced to mentors and role models who can guide her in reaching her goals.


After School Programs Provide Safe Learning Opportunities for Students

"Juvenile crime is down 70 percent in Carbon County, Utah, and we can thank the coordinated efforts of everyone. The after-school program plays a major part in keeping our kids off the streets and out of trouble."
Judge Scott N. Johansen, 7th District Juvenile Court, Utah. In Price, Utah, the 21st Century Community Learning Center program is serving 11 sites and benefiting over 1,000 students in the Carbon School District. The program's goal, to improve academic performance through after-school activities, is being met through a wide range of activities including tutoring, access to computers, extended library hours, parenting skills, nutrition and health programs, and summer and weekend remedial catch-up programs offered in conjunction with recreation programs.


21st Century Community Learning Centers Improve Student Achievement

"I truly believe that these extra curricular activities, made possible through the 21st CCLC grant, result in increased student achievement, greater self-esteem in students, and improved self-discipline. Thank you for making these opportunities possible for our students."
Alyce Wallace, Moulton Elementary Extended Learning Center, Des Moines, Iowa


Opening the Doors of Higher Education to All Americans

THEN: Costs put college out of reach for too many students
With tuition costs skyrocketing, middle class families were struggling to put their children through college. In 1992, only 43 percent of students benefited from federal student grants and loans, and more than 22 percent of student loan borrowers defaulted within two years of entering repayment. The maximum Pell Grant award was $2,300, and its value had not kept up with inflation.
NOW: Largest expansion of college opportunity since the GI Bill
To open the doors of college to all Americans, the Clinton-Gore Administration enacted the largest investment in higher education since the GI Bill. President Clinton and Vice President Gore created HOPE Scholarships and Lifetime Learning tax credits, which were claimed in 1999 by an estimated 10 million American families struggling to pay for college. Lower student loan interest rates and fees have saved students over $9 billion; the average $10,000 loan costs a student $1,300 less now than it did in 1993. The student loan default rate has fallen for seven straight years and is now a record-low 6.9 percent. President Clinton expanded the Work-Study program and increased the Pell Grant maximum award to $3,750 — the highest amount ever. In 1999, 59 percent of students benefited from federal student grants and loans.

HOPE Scholarships and Lifetime Learning Tax Credits
Expand Family College Opportunity

"My son is studying for a masterís degree in chemistry, my daughter is a freshman at the University of Virginia, and I hope to return to school to finish my college degree in art history. Itís hard to afford that much tuition, but the Hope Scholarship has made a real difference for my family. In combination with Virginia's public colleges and other financial aid, itís really a good picture."
Catheryn Moore, Virginia. In 1997, Catherine was attending Northern Virginia Community College, her son was a sophomore at the University of Virginia, and her daughter was a sophomore in high school. The Hope Scholarship and Lifetime Learning tax credit won by President Clinton helped make her continuing education — as well as the college education of her children — more affordable for her family.


Direct Student Loans Make College Affordable for Students

"I never regret taking out student loans. I am a teacher. I affect young minds every single day. But the reality is that I still have almost $40,000 in student loans. As a teacher, I donít make a lot of money. And I also need to help take care of my mother, who has had numerous surgeries and will undergo another this week, and support my brother. I appreciate the help Iíve gotten meeting my responsibility to repay loans, such as flexible payment plans and the economic hardship forbearance for temporary tough situations in repaying your student loans. President Clinton has also reduced student loan interest rates and made interest payments tax-deductible."
Raquel Talley, 28-year-old substitute teacher in Prince Georgeís County, Maryland credits student loans with allowing her to earn a college degree and enter a profession she loves. To earn her B.A. and M.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University, she borrowed a total of $45,000 in direct student loans and still owes about $38,000. Because she helps support her mother and 30-year-old brother (who has diabetes) on her modest teacherís salary, she has twice enrolled in forbearance and is now enrolled in the extended flexible repayment plan.


"I need to graduate from college to pursue my dream of a career in information technology. That simply wouldnít be possible without student loans."
Heather Ely, Junior at DePaul University. Heather is majoring in computer information systems and hopes to pursue a career in the field of information technology. Heather is financing her college education largely on her own through both federal and private loans and a part time job at a local restaurant.


Improving Education for All of Americaís Children

  • More States Have Set High Standards: In 1992, only 14 states had standards in core subjects; today, 49 states have them and 48 have assessments to measure student progress.
  • Reading and Math Scores Have Increased: Since 1992, reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have increased for 4th, 8th, and 12th graders, including those students in the highest poverty schools.
  • Federal Funds are Targeted to Areas of Greatest Need: The percentage of high-poverty schools receiving Title I funds rose from 79 percent in 1994 to 96 percent in 1998.
  • More Schools are Connected to the Internet: The percentage of classrooms with Internet access increased from 3 percent in 1994 to 65 percent in 1999. In addition, 95 percent of schools are connected to the Internet, keeping us on track to reach our goal of connecting every school to the information superhighway.
  • Math SAT Scores are at a 30-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 while more students from diverse backgrounds are taking the test than ever before.
  • More High School Graduates Going to College: More high school graduates than ever are going directly to college. Especially notable are the increases in the college-going rate for low-income high school graduates, from 44 percent in 1992 to 51 percent in 1997, and for African American high school graduates, from 50 percent going directly to college in 1992 compared to 59 percent in 1997.
  • Doubled Student Financial Aid: Since 1993, student aid has doubled to nearly $60 billion, including the tuition tax credits, and more students are benefiting from federal student grants and loans — 43 percent in 1992 compared to 59 percent in 1999. The maximum Pell Grant has increased from $2,300 in 1992 to $3,300 in 2000.
  • Reduced Costs on Student Loans: Lower student loan interest rates and fees have saved students over $9 billion; the average $10,000 loan costs a student $1,300 less now than it did in 1993. New direct student loans have saved taxpayers over $4 billion so far by eliminating lender subsidies.

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