T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E

January 21, 1999

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Teaching our children is patriotic work, and we must do more to recruit our best people and train them to excel as teachers. The four proposals I have laid out will move us towards that goal. But the best way to recruit committed new teachers is to show them that their efforts will make a difference, and to do that, we must make every school in America a center of excellence. That is the path we are now on, a path that will lead to a better, more prosperous, more secure America in the 21st Century.

President Bill Clinton
January 21, 1999

Today, President Clinton joins First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to unveil an education agenda to help provide highly qualified teachers in every classroom in America, including, funding to reduce class size and allow local school districts to hire 8,000 more teachers, provide 7,000 scholarships to students committed to teaching in high-poverty public schools, extend a program to train and place 3,000 retired military personnel in schools, and a new initiative to recruit and train 1,000 Native American teachers committed to teach in schools with high concentrations of Native American students. Vice President Gore will be in Florida to announce a plan to help schools build and renovate schools nationwide.

A Presidential Plan To Hire 100,000 Well-Prepared Teachers. Studies show that smaller classes enable teachers to give personal attention to students, which leads to their getting a stronger foundation in the basic skills. That is why President Clinton and Vice President Gore fought to win funding in last year's budget to begin hiring 100,000 teachers to reduce class size nationwide in grades 1-3 to an average of 18. In his 2000 budget proposal, President Clinton will:

  • Request funding to allow local school districts to recruit, hire, and train an additional 8,000 teachers, while continuing to pay for the 30,000 teachers hired with funds from last year's budget. To ensure that this initiative supports high-quality teaching, school districts may spend up to 15 percent of these funds for teacher training and other related activities.

Recruiting Teachers For High-Poverty Schools. Poor and minority students often have the least access to well-prepared teachers. To address this challenge, the President will propose:

  • Funding to provide scholarships to 7,000 outstanding students who commit to teaching in high-poverty public schools. These scholarships were first proposed by President Clinton last year and enacted by Congress as part of the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act;
  • Preserving and Expanding the Troops-to-Teachers program begun in 1994, which has helped train and recruit 3,000 retiring military personnel to teach in high-poverty areas. The President's budget proposal calls for scholarships and other support for training and placing an additional 3,000 retiring military personnel and other mid-career professionals in high-poverty schools.

Recruiting 1,000 New Native American Teachers. Only two-thirds of Native American students successfully complete high school. To address this challenge, the President is proposing $10 million to begin training and recruiting 1,000 new teachers for areas with high concentrations of American Indian and Alaska Native students.

A Plan To Modernize America's Schools. Meanwhile, Vice President Gore tours Ventura Elementary School in Orlando, Florida and announces an Administration proposal to help states build and renovate public schools nationwide. The Vice President is calling on Congress to approve this plan, which includes:

  • $22 billion in School Modernization Bonds available over two years for construction and renovation of public school facilities;
  • $2.4 billion in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds over two years for building renovation and school construction related to certain public school-business partnerships in low-income schools;
  • The Secretary of Interior would allocate $400 million in School Modernization Bonds to tribes or tribal organizations for the construction and renovation of Bureau of Indian Affairs funded schools.

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