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October 20, 1998

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There is nothing more important for America's future prosperity and strength than giving our children a world-class education. To meet this challenge, we must give our communities safer, smarter, cutting-edge classrooms and schools -- places where teachers can focus on teaching and students can concentrate on learning.

Vice President Al Gore
October 20, 1998

Today, Vice President Al Gore will be in Iowa where he will discuss the important education initiatives the Clinton Administration was able to secure in this year's budget bill and renew his call for tax credits to help states and localities build or modernize over 5,000 schools nationwide. Throughout the year, the Vice President has been traveling around the country talking to teachers, parents, students and education leaders about the need to rebuild and modernize crumbling schools.

Critical Investments In Education And Training. The Clinton-Gore Administration, against House Republican efforts to slash the education budget, was able to secure historic investments in one of our most critical resources -- our children. In the budget agreement made last week, the Administration delivered on key education initiatives:

  • More High-Quality Teachers With Smaller Class Sizes. In his State of the Union address, President Clinton called for 100,000 new, well-prepared teachers to help reduce class sizes in grades 1-3 to a national average of 18. The final budget provides the first down payment on that promise and authorizes $1.2 billion for the first year of the President's initiative to hire 100,000 new teachers;
  • College Mentoring To Help 100,000 Students Prepare For College. The final budget agreement included funding for the President's GEAR UP program, that will expand mentoring efforts by states, and provide new grants to partnerships of middle schools, institutions of higher learning, and community organizations, to provide intensive early intervention services to help prepare up to 100,000 students at high-poverty middle schools for college;
  • Expanded Education Technology. President Clinton and Vice President Gore fought for and received a 20 percent increase in funding for education technology to ensure that every child has access to computers, the Internet, high-quality educational software, and teachers that can use technology effectively in the classroom;
  • Helping Children Read Well By The End Of Third Grade. The budget agreement includes funding for the President's new initiative to help ensure that all children can read well and independently by the end of the third grade. This new initiative will provide competitive grants to states to: (1) improve teachers' ability to teach reading effectively; (2) promote family literacy programs to help parents be their child's first teacher; and (3) improve the quality of tutoring programs by supporting tutor training;

Progress Has Been Made, But Work Remains. Although the President and Vice President were able to win victories on major educational initiatives, the Congress failed to support:

  • School Modernization Tax Credits. The President fought all year to modernize our schools and proposed a plan that would have provided federal tax credits to help states and localities build or modernize over 5,000 schools nationwide. This plan, based on a tax cut, would not create a single federal job, but rather, would employ thousands of hard working Americans to help build and modernize our schools. During the budget negotiations, Republicans in Congress refused to even meet on this critical issue;
  • Education Opportunity Zones. President Clinton, in his budget, called for Education Opportunity Zones to help high-poverty urban and rural communities increase student achievement by raising standards, improving teaching, ending social promotions, and turning around failing schools. The Republican majority refused to provide the requested funding, which would have helped about 50 high-poverty, low-achieving, urban and rural school districts.

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