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Highlighting the Results of Investing in America's Education Priorities

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White House at Work

Tuesday, September 12, 2000

"We've worked very hard for seven and a half years now, for higher standards, more accountability, reforms that work, and greater investment. The results are coming in, and it's clear that this strategy is working…"

President Bill Clinton
September 12, 2000

Today, at the White House, President Clinton released a report highlighting the progress America's students are making. The report underscores the results of the Clinton-Gore Administration's commitment to investing more in our schools while demanding more from them. The President also announced the award of $46 million in new GEAR UP grants to help disadvantaged students prepare for college, released a letter from 104 college presidents calling for full funding for GEAR UP, and called on Congress to continue to make critical investments in education, including smaller classes, modern school buildings, high-quality teachers, more after-school programs, and accountability for results.

THEN AND NOW: INVESTMENT AND PROGRESS. When President Clinton and Vice President Gore took office in 1992, they began a strategy of improving education through high standards, accountability, and investing in what works. Since then, the Administration has doubled the federal investment in education and training while maintaining a balanced budget and paying down the debt. The report released today shows that:

  • Math SAT scores are at a 30-year high. The average SAT math score has gone from 501 in 1992 to 514 in 2000, and the average verbal score has gone from 500 to 505;
  • Since 1992, reading and math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have increased for 4th, 8th, and 12th graders, including those students in high-poverty areas;
  • The achievement gap between low-income and minority students and their peers has decreased;
  • More students are taking a rigorous high school curriculum and enrolling in higher education; and
  • Nearly all of the nation's highest poverty schools receive Title I funds, compared to fewer than 80% before 1992.

AWARDING $46 MILLION IN NEW GEAR UP GRANTS. With President Clinton's leadership, GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) was proposed and enacted in 1998 with broad bipartisan support. Today, the President released 80 new GEAR UP grants totaling $46 million. Combined with existing funding, these grants will promote college opportunities for more than 700,000 at-risk children this year. GEAR UP supports partnerships of schools, colleges and universities, and community organizations to strengthen academics and tutoring, mentor students, share college information, and provide college scholarships. It also funds state efforts to promote college awareness and provide scholarships for needy students.

CALLING FOR FULL FUNDING OF IMPORTANT COLLEGE PROGRAMS. For the second year in a row, interest in GEAR UP far exceeded available funding, limiting the Department of Education to fund only one application in four. President Clinton has requested $325 million for GEAR UP in FY 2001 to help meet the obvious need, but Congress plans to freeze it at $200 million, denying aid for up to 600,000 students. Today, the President released a letter from 104 college and university presidents endorsing his request for $325 million in funding for GEAR UP, as well as for other important college programs including the TRIO programs for disadvantaged students.

CALLING ON CONGRESS TO INVEST IN AMERICA'S EDUCATION PRIORITIES. In February, the Clinton-Gore Administration sent Congress a balanced and fiscally responsible budget that makes investments in key education initiatives, such as modernizing 6,000 schools and repairing 25,000 more, meeting our commitment to hire 100,000 quality teachers to reduce class sizes, improving teacher quality, increasing accountability by turning around failing schools, and expanding after-school opportunities. Today, the President renewed his call on Congress to fully enact his education budget proposals by investing in what works for our schools and demanding more from them, to ensure our children receive the high-quality education they deserve.

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