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October 28, 1999: Honoring Excellence in Education

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"We need more teachers, more accountability, and more investment in education. Not fewer teachers, no accountability, and across-the-board cuts in America's priorities."

President Bill Clinton
Thursday, October 28, 1999

Today, in Washington, DC., President Clinton honored the winners of this year's Blue Ribbon Schools Awards. The President praised the schools for the world-class education they provide, and highlighted the Administration's strategy for improving public education by reducing class size, turning around failing schools, and making other targeted investments in our children. Emphasizing that the budget debate is not just about how much we spend on education, but how we spend it, the President faulted the current Republican appropriations bill for undermining needed improvements for our nation's public schools.

Honoring Excellence in Education. The Blue Ribbon Schools Awards, established in 1982, were presented to 266 schools in 37 states that have demonstrated sustained success or have overcome obstacles to make significant advances in student achievement. Blue Ribbon Schools are tangible proof of the effectiveness of high standards, school accountability and targeted investment.

Investing Wisely in Proven Strategies. President Clinton's budget plan calls for targeting our education dollars wisely in proven strategies for reform, such as:

  • hiring 100,000 well-qualified teachers to reduce class size;
  • increasing accountability and turning around low-performing schools;
  • investing in after-school, summer school, and mentoring programs;
  • improving teacher quality by recruiting, training, and supporting high-quality teachers;
  • expanding the Troops to Teachers initiative to enable more mid-career professionals to teach in high-poverty areas;
  • building and modernizing 6,000 schools.

Republican Spending Bill Shortchanges Our Schools. The Republican education spending bill:

  • Abandons their commitment to hire 100,000 teachers to reduce class size, and provides no guarantee that the 29,000 teachers hired for this year can continue teaching. It also provides no funding for the additional 8,000 teachers the President's plan would support this year;

  • Fails to hold schools accountable for results by providing no funds to turn around failing schools;

  • Underfunds after-school and summer school programs, denying at least 800,000 students access to a safe place to learn during after-school hours when most juvenile crime and drug and alcohol abuse occur;

  • Shortchanges teacher quality and recruitment programs;

  • Eliminates the Troops to Teachers program that enables retired military personnel to teach in high-need areas;

  • Underinvests in the GEAR-UP program and in education technology, denying more that 130,000 disadvantaged young people the help they need to get into college, and undermining crucial investments in education technology;

  • Fails to fund the President's plan to build or repair 6,000 schools.

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