Fact Sheet: Urging Congress to Support America's Education Priorities (10/17/00)
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|                            October 17, 2000                             |
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Today, the White House will call on Congress to complete its work and send
President Clinton a fiscally responsible budget that invests in America?s
key priorities -- especially the education of our children.  In a speech at
the National Press Club, White House Chief of Staff John Podesta will
release a new Department of Education report demonstrating how federal
support for after-school and summer school programs is enabling communities
to create high-quality extended learning opportunities that improve
academic achievement while keeping kids safe.  He also will urge Congress
to fund America?s education priorities and heed the mounting evidence that
the Clinton-Gore Administration?s strategy of investing more in our schools
and demanding more from them is making a positive difference for our
children.  To date, Congress has not produced a budget that: offers tax
cuts and a school renovation initiative to help communities modernize
crumbling schools; adequately funds after-school programs; reduces class
sizes in the early grades; strengthens accountability for fixing failing
schools; and helps put a qualified teacher in every classroom.

the leadership of President Clinton and Vice President Gore, federal
funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers has increased from
a $1 million demonstration program in 1997 to a $453 million initiative in
2000, with 3,600 schools currently providing extended learning
opportunities for 650,000 students.  However, the demand for high quality
after-school and summer opportunities continues to outpace available
resources, and last year only one in seven 21st Century Community Learning
Center applications could be funded.  Today, the White House will reiterate
President Clinton?s request for $1 billion in FY 2001 to more than triple
the number of students benefiting from these programs, helping to provide
after-school opportunities for more than one quarter of the nation?s 8
million "latch-key" kids. The report released today outlines the progress
being made in over 900 communities across the nation in providing safe and
nurturing alternatives for children in the afternoon hours when they are
most likely to commit or be the victims of crime.  In addition to providing
a safe haven for "latch-key" kids, the 21st Century Community Learning
Centers provide students with access to homework centers, tutors, and
cultural and recreational activities -- enabling students to boost their
academic achievement and social skills. The findings highlighted by the
Department?s report include:

?  Virtually all 21st Century Community Learning Centers provide reading
support, and more than 90 percent provide math support.
?  After-school programs are helping to boost student achievement across
the country.  In rural McCormick, South Carolina, 120 students would have
been held back a grade if not for their after-school program, and almost
three-quarters of students in a Brooklyn, New York, program improved their
grades in one or more subjects by five points on a 100-point scale.
?  The peak hours for juvenile crime and victimization are between 2 p.m.
and 8 p.m.  Since the implementation of its after-school program, the
community of Highland Park, Michigan, reports a 40 percent drop in juvenile
crime in the neighborhood surrounding its 21st Century Community Learning
?  Students who spend between one and four hours per week in
extracurricular activities are half as likely to use drugs and one-third
less likely to become teen parents.  The Salem-Keizer district in Oregon
has seen a substantial drop in alcohol and drug use since receiving a 21st
Century Community Learning Center grant, and a Plainview, Arkansas,
community has seen the number of teen pregnancies drop from six in one year
to zero since the 21st Century Community Learning Center established an
abstinence program two years ago.
?  Some 90 percent of grantees partner with community-based organizations,
thus raising community involvement in public schools.
?  Two-thirds of grantees operate substantial summer school programs in
addition to their school-year program.
?  Fifty-five percent of 21st Century Community Learning Centers serve
rural communities, and 45 percent serve inner-city communities.
?  Over 80 percent of voters agree that access to after school programs for
all children is important, yet nearly two-thirds of voters report that it
is difficult to find such programs in their communities.

President Clinton and Vice President Gore sent Congress a balanced and
fiscally responsible budget that makes investments in key education
initiatives.  However, Congress still has not completed an education
budget, and is now neglecting America?s priorities and loading spending
bills with election-year, earmarked projects for special interests.  The
Republican budget provides:

?  No guaranteed funding for urgent school repairs, $1.3 billion below the
President?s budget.  President Clinton?s plan would help school districts
repair roofs, heating and cooling systems, and electrical wiring.  The
Republican plan could deny much-needed renovations to up to 5,000 schools;
?  $0 in new School Modernization Bonds, while the President?s budget would
support $25 billion in bonds.  The Republican plan would prevent the
modernization and construction of 6,000 schools;
?  $600 million for after-school programs, $400 million below the
President?s budget.  The Republican plan would deny safe extended learning
environments to 1.6 million children by supporting 3,100 fewer centers in
900 fewer communities than the President?s budget would;
?  No guaranteed funding for class-size reduction, $1.75 billion below the
President?s budget.  The Republican plan fails to ensure that school
districts can hire 20,000 new teachers and support the 29,000 teachers
already hired under the Class Size Reduction initiative, potentially
denying smaller classes to 2.9 million children;
?  $473 million for the President?s plan to improve teacher quality, $527
million below the President?s budget.  The Republican plan would fail to
fully fund support for teacher professional development, recruitment, and
rewards, and would not help ensure a qualified teacher in every classroom;
?  $0 for the Accountability Fund, $250 million below the President?s
budget.  The Republican plan would deny resources to states and school
districts to turn around low-performing schools;

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