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August 3, 1998: Investing in America's Youth

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This is a moment of great possibility for America. Our economy continues to grow steadily, new industries are coming into being, creating new jobs -- jobs that demand new skills - jobs we cannot even imagine yet. This is one of those rare moments in American history when we have a chance to act -- not because of a crisis, but because of a great opportunity. We cannot let this moment pass us by.

President Bill Clinton
August 3, 1998

Today, President Clinton travels to the Prince George's County Hospital Center, where he will discuss the importance of investing in youth through education, training, and summer jobs. The President will convey his serious concern about the Republican Labor-Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill under consideration in the House of Representatives that would dramatically cut our commitment to education and job training, and promise to veto this bill if it passes as currently written.

The President's Agenda For Education. As we prepare for the challenges of the 21st Century, strengthening our educational system is one of the most important ways we can help our children, so they are prepared to compete and thrive in the future. President Clinton is committed to giving children the tools they need to succeed, and is working to make education more affordable and accessible for our children, including:

  • Working To Establish High National Standards to ensure our children will gain the skills they need to succeed in the future;
  • Supporting Teachers Who Do A Good Job by rewarding the most innovative and successful teachers in the classrooms, helping those who fail to improve or move on, and recruiting more talented people into the teaching ranks;
  • Working To Create Safer, More Disciplined Learning Environments by modernizing schools and reducing class size;
  • A Commitment To Connect Every Classroom To The Internet and train teachers in this new technology;
  • An End To Social Promotion so that children are not passed from grade to grade without learning the material first.

House Republicans Want To Eliminate The Summer Jobs Program. Under the House Republican bill, up to 530,000 disadvantaged young people would be denied the opportunity to gain skills and valuable work experience during the summer months. Studies show that the Summer Jobs Initiative works. A recent report concluded that more than three out of four young people enrolled in the program would have been jobless without it.

House Republicans Retreat From Support For Education. Republicans in the House of Representatives are advancing a bill that denies educational and training opportunities to the young people of America. The House bill would:

  • Not Help Raise Academic Standards. The House bill denies 6,000 schools nationwide funds to help students reach high standards and would halt development of voluntary national tests in fourth grade reading and eighth grade math.
  • Short Changes Head Start, by denying slots in the program to roughly 25,000 low-income children, compared to the President's budget;
  • Denies Funds For After-School Programs that would reach over 425,000 school-age children in before and after-school programs;
  • Eliminates Funds For The President's America Reads Challenge, which helps schools and communities improve reading programs and provide tutors for student who need extra help;
  • Denies 520,000 Disadvantaged Students Help In The Basic Skills by substantially reducing funding for Title I.
  • Denies Over 6,500 Middle Schools The Funding They Need to Hire Safe And Drug-Free Schools Coordinators;
  • Eliminates Funding To Prepare Disadvantaged Children For College. Under the House bill, one million at-risk middle school students over five years would not get mentoring and tutoring they need to help prepare for college;
  • Eliminates Low-Income Home Energy Assistance to more than four million low-income families who need help paying their home heating bills.

Challenging Congress To Strengthen Education And Training. Instead of dramatically reducing the access students have to summer jobs, tutors, and after-school programs, President Clinton is calling on Congress to support his efforts to improve our educational system so our children are taught in a world-class learning environment that gives them every opportunity to gain the knowledge they will need in the 21st Century.

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