President Clinton’s Radio Address To The Nation: Modernizing America’s Schools (09/30/00)
Today, in his weekly radio address, President Clinton will announce a new U.S. Department of Education analysis demonstrating 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 other 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 analysis 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, and state-run school construction programs, and describes how School Modernization Bonds would help. In every state and the District of Columbia, at least 60 percent of schools need repairs. Crumbling schools not only have a negative effect on student learning, but they can pose serious dangers to students’ 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 AMERICA’S 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:
- $25 BILLION IN SCHOOL MODERNIZATION BONDS. President Clinton has proposed $25 billion in school construction bonds that would be interest-free for school districts. The bonds would help build and modernize 6,000 schools nationwide. Districts could use these 15-year bonds to modernize existing schools as well as build new ones. Bond owners would receive federal tax credits rather than interest payments from school districts, allowing districts to borrow interest-free for school construction. A similar mechanism has been used successfully for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs). In the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps. Charles Rangel and Nancy Johnson introduced bipartisan legislation based on the President’s proposal with 229 sponsors. In the Senate, Sen. Charles Robb introduced a similar bill.
- $1.3 BILLION FOR URGENT REPAIRS. President Clinton has also proposed a $1.3 billion initiative to make $6.7 billion in grants and interest-free loans for emergency repairs at 5,000 schools. Over five years, the initiative would help 25,000 schools repair roofs, heating and cooling systems, and electrical wiring. The assistance would be targeted to high-need districts. Within this $1.3 billion, the initiative would allocate $50 million for public schools with high concentrations of Native American students. Sen. Harkin and Rep. Clay have introduced urgent school repair legislation in Congress.
- NATIVE AMERICAN SCHOOLS. President Clinton requested $300 million for the replacement and renovation of Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)-funded schools, of which up to $30 million may be used to ensure principal repayment on School Modernization Bonds. These schools have an $800 million backlog in health, safety, and other critical needs. He also proposed to allocate $400 million of the $25 billion in School Modernization bonds for these schools over two years. The Administration supports passage of legislation to make the bonding proposal a reality for Indian communities.
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.
- An estimated $127 billion is needed to bring America’s schools into good overall condition, according to the U.S. Department of Education. An estimated 3.5 million students attend schools that need extensive repair or replacement. (Condition of America’s Public School Facilities: 1999, 2000)
- Our schools need over $300 billion to meet the challenge of rising enrollments, installing a modern technology infrastructure, and making critical repairs, according to the National Education Association. (Modernizing Our Schools: What Will It Cost?, 2000)
- The average public school was built 42 years ago. About one-third of public schools were built before 1970 and haven’t been renovated since at least 1980. (National Center for Education Statistics, Condition of Education 2000, p. 63).
- School conditions matter: A growing body of research links student achievement and behavior to physical building conditions and overcrowding. Good facilities are an important precondition for student learning, provided that other necessary conditions are also present.
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 day of the fiscal year, the Republican Congress has completed only two of 13 spending bills and is now rejecting America’s 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.
What's New at the White House
What's New - December 2000
What's New - November 2000
What's New - October 2000
What's New - September 2000
What's New - July 2000
What's New - June 2000
What's New - May 2000
What’s New - April 2000
What's New - March 2000
What's New - February 2000
What's New - January 2000
What's New Archives 1997-1999
What's New Archives: 1994-1996
Presidential Webcast: Meeting the Challenge of Global Warming
President Clinton Joins International Religious and Domestic Aids Policy Leaders to Mark World Aids Day
Urging Congress to Keep its Commitment and Complete this Year's Education Budget
To Implement Title V of the Trade and Development Act of 2000 and to Modify the Generalized System of Preferences
Preserving America’s Coral Reefs
Human Rights Day: The Eleanor Roosevelt Award and The Presidential Medal of Freedom
President Clinton Launches New Effort to Increase Immunization Rates Among Children
President Clinton and Vice President Gore: Restoring an American Natural Treasure
Progress in Efforts to Combat International Crime
President Clinton’s New Markets Initiative: Revitalizing America’s Underserved Communities
President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and Congressional Democrats Win a Landmark Budget
Announcing Welfare Reform Achievements and Budget Wins for America’s Families
President Clinton Issues Strong New Consumer Protections to Ensure the Privacy of Medical Records
Enacting a Budget that Invests in Education, Health Care, and America’
President Clinton Appoints Roger Gregory to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
President Clinton Announces New Steps to Improve Nutrition and Education for Children in Developing Countries
The United States on Track to Pay Off the Debt by End of the Decade
President Clinton: Strengthening the Federal Government-University Research Partnership
Keeping the Heat and Lights On During Unusually Cold Weather
President Clinton and First Lady Promote Screenings and Treatment for Breast, Cervical and Other Cancers
Strengthening and Supporting the Military
President Clinton: Strong Action to Preserve America’s Forests
Protecting America’s Natural Treasures
President Clinton: Raising the Minimum Wage -- An Overdue Pay Raise for America’s Working Families
President Clinton Awards the Presidential Citizens Medals
President Clinton Unveils the Completion of the FDR Memorial and Honors FDR’s Legacy
Highlights of the 2001 Economic Report of the President
Prevention Resources For America
President Clinton Honors Martin Luther King Through Words and Deeds
New Efforts to Fight Sweatshops and Child Labor Around the World & Put A More Human Face on the
Leadership for the New Millennium -- A Record of Digital Progress and Prosperity
President Clinton: Celebrating the Legacy of Lewis and Clark and Preserving America’s Natural Treasures
President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House | White House for Kids
White House History | White House Tours | Help
T H E W H I T E H O U S E