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President Clinton: Helping Disadvantaged Youth
THE CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION: HELPING EVERY
CHILD STAY ON THE PATH TO COLLEGE THROUGH GEAR UP AND
May 19, 2000
Today, President Clinton will visit Sulzberger Middle School to
highlight GEAR UP, a Clinton-Gore initiative that provides mentoring, tutoring
and financial support to keep at-risk students on the track to college. He will
visit the first class of Philadelphia GEAR UP students and present a GEAR UP
student with a 21st Century Scholar Certificate. In addition, he
will announce $185 million in 21st Century Community Learning Center
grants to fund after-school programs in 900 schools. He will also call upon
Congress to fully fund his education initiatives. This year, Republicans are
threatening to cut the President's important education initiatives,
including GEAR UP and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
HELPING DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS ENTER COLLEGE THROUGH GEAR UP.
GEAR UP, or Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs,
was first proposed by President Clinton in his 1998 State of the Union address
and enacted with broad bipartisan support in October 1998. It is a initiative
to give hope, raise expectations, and create college opportunities for
disadvantaged children. It supports partnerships of schools, colleges and
universities, and community organizations to strengthen academics and tutoring,
raise expectations, provide college visits and counseling, and often provide
college scholarships to nearly 450,000 middle school students this year. It
also funds state efforts to promote college awareness and provide scholarships
for needy students. Over 1,000 organizations are GEAR UP partners, including
colleges and universities, libraries, arts organizations, and chambers of
commerce. Next academic year, GEAR UP will serve over 750,000 students, and
President Clinton requested $325 million in FY 2001 to serve 1.4 million
children. GEAR UP was inspired by businessman Eugene Lang's I Have a Dream
Foundation and also modeled on Project GRAD.
PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL PRESENT GEAR UP CERTIFICATES TO PHILADELPHIA
SEVENTH-GRADERS. The 21st Century Certificates raise college
aspirations and provide early notice of the substantial federal assistance
available for college costs, helping families understand that college is within
reach. Representative Chaka Fattah was the first to see the potential of
21st Century Scholar Certificates to inspire at-risk students and
the leading congressional advocate for the enactment of GEAR UP.
Low-income and minority students are at high risk of failing to enter
college: Only half of low-income high school graduates immediately
enroll in college or trade school, as do four-fifths of high-income
Low-income, African-American, and Hispanic students who read one
piece of information on financial aid are 15 to 23 percentage points more
likely to take college entrance examinations and apply for college admission
than their peers who didn't read any information. (National Center for
Education Statistics, Access to Postsecondary Education for 1992 High School
PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL ALSO ANNOUNCE $185 MILLION IN AFTER-SCHOOL
GRANTS. Today, President Clinton will also announce $185 million in new
grants for 21st Century Community Learning Centers. These grants will support
after-school and summer school programs in 48 states. Funding from the 21st
Century Community Learning Centers initiative provides safe, high-quality
after-school and summer school programs for more than 850,000 students in rural
and urban communities nationwide. Summer school and after-school programs help
give students extra support and assistance to master challenging academic
standards and allow school districts to raise standards the right way by
ensuring that all students can meet them.
PRESIDENT CLINTON WILL CALL ON CONGRESS TO INVEST IN EDUCATION,
INCLUDING GEAR UP AND 21ST CENTURY COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTERS. In order to
pay for risky and fiscally irresponsible tax cuts, the Congressional Republican
budget proposes to cut investments in domestic priorities $29 billion below the
President's level, an average cut of 9 percent. For education this results
in insufficient funding for urgent school repair, smaller class sizes, to
strengthen accountability and turn around low-performing schools, or for other
important school reform efforts. For example:
President Clinton requested $325 million for GEAR UP
next year to help build pathways to college for 1.4 million students. The
Senate plan provides only $225 million and the House only $200 million for this
initiative, denying between 400,000 and 650,000 disadvantaged students this
President Clinton asked Congress to more than double funding for 21st
Century Learning Centers, to $1 billion, to triple the number of students
served to 2.5 million. The need for after-school programs remain great, and
this year more than 1,000 high-quality grant applications could not be funded
due to a lack of resources.
WHY GEAR UP IS IMPORTANT FOR
AMERICA'S YOUNG PEOPLE
GEAR UP is creating college opportunities for at-risk
Enacted in 1998, GEAR UP funds partnerships of high-poverty middle
schools, colleges and universities, community organizations, and business to
work with entire grade levels of students. The partnerships provide tutoring,
mentoring, information on college preparation and financial aid, an emphasis on
core academic preparation and, in some cases, scholarships.
GEAR UP works with students starting in 7th grade or earlier through
high school graduation because research shows that students taking challenging
courses (including algebra) in middle school are much more likely to succeed in
high school and go on to college.
In its first year, GEAR UP is serving more nearly 450,000 students
nationwide. Over 1,000 organizations are GEAR UP partners, including colleges
and universities, libraries, arts organizations, local chambers of commerce,
the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Wal-Mart, Unisys, and the New York Times
Education Program. Next academic year, GEAR UP will serve over 750,000 students
and President Clinton has requested $325 million in FY 2001 to serve 1.4
The College Opportunity Gap Is Real.
Only 47 percent of low-income high school graduates immediately
enroll in college or trade school, compared to 82 percent of high-income
students. (National Center for Education Statistics, Condition of Education
Only 18 percent of African-Americans and 19 percent of Hispanic high
school graduates earn a bachelor's degree by their late twenties, compared
to 35 percent of whites. (NCES, Condition of Education 1999)
The opportunity gap persists regardless of academic preparation: 22
percent of college-qualified high school graduates with low family incomes
don't pursue post-secondary education, compared to only 4 percent of
high-income graduates. (NCES, Access to Postsecondary Education for 1992
High School Graduates.)
GEAR UP's Approach Is Unique Among Federal Programs. GEAR UP
complements existing federal programs by:
Starting earlier. GEAR UP partnerships start no later than the
7th grade because research shows that students who take challenging
coursework in middle school, including algebra, are far more likely to succeed
in high school and college.
Staying with children through high school graduation. GEAR UP
provides long-term mentoring over a period of six or more years, helping
children stay on track for college, and often providing scholarships when they
Transforming schools. GEAR UP partnerships work with entire
grades of students to transform their schools. Services include mentoring,
tutoring, strengthening curriculum, teacher professional development, summer
and after-school academic and enrichment programs, and college visits.
Supporting college scholarships. Some GEAR UP partnerships
provide college scholarships, which research shows to be particularly important
in preventing drop-outs among low-income students.
Leveraging local resources. GEAR UP encourages colleges and
other community organizations to partner with low-income middle schools and
leverages non-federal resources with a one-for-one match requirement.
Bolstering state efforts. GEAR UP also supports state early
college preparation and scholarship efforts.
GEAR UP is Modeled on Proven Programs. Evaluation research on
existing programs demonstrates the value of and the need for the GEAR UP
approach. Evaluation research on existing programs demonstrates the value of
and the need for the GEAR UP approach.
I Have a Dream provides an entire grade of low-income students
with intensive mentoring, academic support, and a promise of public and private
aid for college tuition. Roughly 75 percent of Chicago IHAD students in the
class of 1996 graduated from high school, as did only 37 percent of students in
the control group.
Project GRAD isa college-school-community partnership
to improve inner-city education. Students receive curricular, counseling, and
scholarship opportunities to bring college within reach. Project GRAD has
produced dramatic results on a large scale. The percentage of middle school
students passing the Texas statewide math test has tripled from 21 percent in
1995 to 63 percent in 1998. The number of students graduating from one Project
GRAD high school increased by 64 percent between 1988 and 1998, while the
overall district number declined by 7 percent, and five times more students are
going to college.