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September 8, 1998

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It is time to show our children and the world that America truly values education. Let us make every school across America a shining, modern temple of learning -- a place where a computer is as common in the classroom as a chalkboard, where classes are small enough for teachers to teach and children to learn, where students are inspired to look to the future with hope and confidence. Our children deserve nothing less.

President Bill Clinton
September 8, 1998

Today, as President Clinton kicks off National School Modernization Day at Pine Crest Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland, more than 80 events in cities nationwide will be held with nearly 50 members of Congress, and education, community, and business leaders. The President will release a report by the Department of Education showing that enrollment in elementary and secondary school is at an all-time high, and will call on Congress to support and pass the education agenda the President called for in his State of the Union Address, to build and modernize 5,000 schools, hire 100,000 new teachers, and connect every classroom to the Internet.

School Enrollment At An All-Time High. As members of Congress, education, community, and business leaders attend National School Modernization events nationwide, President Clinton will release a new Department of Education report -- The Third Annual Report On The Baby Boom Echo, which finds that:

  • 52.7 million children attend public and private elementary and secondary schools in America today -- the highest enrollment ever;
  • 2.2 million teachers will need to be hired over the next ten years to meet greater enrollment demands;
  • A record 14.6 million students will attend college this year.

The Need For School Modernization And Renovation. According to a recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report, about 14 million students attend schools that need extensive repair or replacement of one or more buildings. Almost 60 percent of America's schools reported at least one major building feature in disrepair. As part of National School Modernization Day, communities across the country, elected officials, parents, and business leaders will gather to hear the President's speech and discuss their own strategies for school construction and renovation, achieving smaller classes with well-qualified teachers, and taking advantage of new technologies.

Calling For Immediate Congressional Action. The President is urging Congress to help America address these pressing needs by enacting -- in the next month before they adjourn -- the President's education agenda, which calls for:

  • Building and Renovating Over 5,000 Schools through School Modernization Tax Credits to help provide all students with safe, state-of-the-art school buildings;
  • Hiring 100,000 Teachers To Reduce Class Size in grades 1-3 to a nationwide average of 18 students, helping to ensure that every child receives individual attention, gets a solid foundation for further learning, and learns to read independently and well by the end of third grade;
  • Harnessing Technology For Education. The Clinton Administration has made an unprecedented commitment to bring technology into the classroom and ensure that all children are technologically literate by the dawn of the 21st Century. However, appropriations bills on Capitol Hill eliminate funding for technology teacher training, and cut funding for the Technology Literacy Fund and educational technology. The President strongly opposes these measures and will also continue to strongly oppose any effort by the Congress to repeal or delay the e-rate -- an expansion of universal service to provide discounted Internet access and telecommunications services to schools and libraries.

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