President Clinton's Radio Address to the Nation: Modernizing America's Schools, 9/30/00

PRESIDENT CLINTONíS RADIO ADDRESS TO THE NATION:
MODERNIZING AMERICAíS SCHOOLS
SEPTEMBER 30, 2000

Today, in his weekly radio address, President Clinton will announce a new U.S. Department of Education analysis of the pressing need to modernize schools in every state. He will call on Congress to pass his school modernization plan, which includes $25 billion in School Modernization Bonds and a $1.3 billion initiative for urgent school renovation. He will also call on Congress to invest in the nationís education priorities, including smaller class sizes, more after-school learning opportunities, accountability for fixing failing schools, and ensuring a qualified teacher in every classroom.

PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL RELEASE A STATE-BY-STATE SNAPSHOT OF THE CONDITION OF SCHOOL FACILITIES. The new U.S. Department of Education paper describes the condition of school facilities in every state, from Alabama (where 84 percent of schools need repairs) to Wyoming (where 82 percent need repairs). The paper provides the first state-by-state snapshot of school facility conditions, state school construction programs, and how School Modernization Bonds would help. In every state and the District of Columbia, at least 60 percent of schools need repairs. Not only do crumbling schools have a negative effect on student learning, but they can pose serious dangers to studentsí health and safety. For example, 87 percent of Dade County, Florida, schools failed fire safety code requirements due to electrical problems, missing or defective smoke and heat alarms, and nonfunctional fire extinguishers.

THE CLINTON-GORE PLAN TO MODERNIZE AMERICAíS SCHOOLS. All students deserve a safe, healthy, and modern place to learn. President Clinton will urge the congressional leadership to quit stalling and pass school construction legislation this year. Specifically, to help communities meet this national priority, he has proposed:

THE URGENT NATIONAL NEED FOR SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION. Communities across the country are struggling to address urgent safety and facility needs, rising student enrollments, and smaller class sizes.

CALLING ON CONGRESS TO INVEST IN AMERICA'S EDUCATION PRIORITIES. In February, the Clinton-Gore Administration sent Congress a balanced and fiscally responsible budget that makes investments in key education initiatives such as continuing our commitment to hire 100,000 quality teachers to reduce class sizes, ensuring a qualified teacher in every classroom, increasing accountability by turning around failing schools, expanding after-school opportunities, and preparing 1.3 million at-risk children for college through GEAR UP. As of today, the last of the fiscal year, the Republican Congress has completed only two of 13 spending bills and is now rejecting Americaís priorities and loading spending bills with election-year, earmarked projects for special interests. Today, the President will renew his call on Congress to fully enact his education budget proposals by investing more in our schools and demanding more from them to ensure our children receive the high-quality education they deserve.


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