Clinton/Gore '96 The Briefing Room
Bill Clinton & Al Gore on the Issues



Improving Education
Education is the work of your lives, but it’s also the work of America’s future. All of these concerns come together in education because school is where young people can learn the skills they need to pursue middle-class dreams, especially now when knowledge is more important than ever to our future. School is also the place where middle-class values taught by parents are reinforced by teachers—values like responsibility, honesty, trustworthiness, hard work, caring for one another and our natural environment and good citizenship.”

—President Bill Clinton

Our challenge is to provide Americans with the educational opportunities we need for a new century.  The Clinton Administration is fighting to provide Americans with the skills and training they need to get better jobs, earn higher incomes and enjoy a brighter future. In today’s global economy, President Clinton is committed to keeping America competitive by ensuring that students get the education, training and know-how they need to compete and succeed. The President has compiled an impressive record of achievement in improving the nation’s education system by introducing a series of new reforms and supporting programs that work. President Clinton continues to maintain our commitment to our children and our nation’s future by protecting our investment in education. President Clinton is working to provide people with the opportunities to make the most of their abilities by:

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Creating AmeriCorps, the President’s national service initiative that gives young people the opportunity to earn money for college by serving their communities and their country. In the past two years, 45,000 volunteers have worked in schools, hospitals, neighborhoods and parks while earning money for college.
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Increasing Head Start funding to provide early education to tens of thousands of additional children.
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Reforming the student loan program, making college more affordable this year for millions of students by providing them with access to flexible repayment options, including pay-as-you-earn plans. More than 1,750 schools, representing 50% of the total amount of loans, are expected to participate in the Direct Lending program this year.
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Increasing the minimum Pell Grant scholarship from $2,300 to $2,470. The President also proposes another increase in the Pell Grant to $2,700 for 1997, during which the program will provide grants to 3.8 million students.
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Broadening educational, career, and economic opportunities for students not immediately bound for four-year colleges through local partnerships among businesses, schools, community organizations, and state and local governments.
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Signing the Goals 2000 Act, which supports the development of standards of excellence for students and encourages grassroots reforms to improve our schools. More than 45 states and thousands of schools participate in Goals 2000 and have developed their own strategic plans for educational improvement based on raising academic standards, improving teaching, increasing parental involvement and expanding the use of technology in the classroom.
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Giving schools greater flexibility to use federal aid and develop effective teaching innovations to help students achieve their full potential.
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Signing the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to help ensure that schools, libraries, hospitals, and clinics have affordable access to advanced telecommunications services. The Telecommunications Act is an important step toward connecting each child in every classroom throughout America to the Information Superhighway—opening up worlds of knowledge and opportunities to all students.
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Proposing the Technology Learning Challenge to encourage communities to form local partnerships between schools and private businesses to develop creative new ways to use technology for learning. Federal funds leverage local resources—each federal dollar is matched by more than three dollars of local and private funds.
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Helping to end 30 years of uncertainty over school prayer and the religious rights of students by directing Attorney General Reno and Secretary of Education Riley to prepare guidelines outlining the many religious rights of students in our nation’s public schools.
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Hosting two White House Conferences on Character Education and encouraging the development of character education through the Improving America’s Schools Act.
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Encouraging schools to consider school uniform policies to help reduce violence while promoting discipline and respect.
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Enacting the Gun-Free Schools Act, which requires the immediate expulsion for one year of any student who brings a gun to school. By fighting for full funding for the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Act—which includes measures to increase the security of our schools, drug prevention programs and training for teachers about dealing with violence—President Clinton is making our schools safer for our children.


Building on Our Progress

President Clinton remains committed to improving education and has vowed to continue helping parents invest in their children’s future by:

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Proposing his Hope Scholarship plan to make the first two years of college as universal as high school. All students would receive a $1,500 refundable tax credit for full-time tuition in their first year and another $1,500 in the second year if they work hard, stay off drugs and earn at least a B average in their first year. This $1,500 credit would pay for more than the full tuition cost at the average community college, making community college free for most students.
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Calling for a tax deduction of up to $10,000 per year for the cost of college tuition and training. More than 17 million students and 14 million working families stand to benefit from this proposal for tax relief to working families.
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Proposing a dramatic expansion of the College Work Study program, increasing the number of students involved in work study from 700,000 to more than 1 million over the next five years. The President has challenged colleges to use additional work study funds to promote public service and put students to work in the community.
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Proposing the largest-ever merit-based scholarship program to reward the top 5% of high school graduates with $1,000 grants toward the cost of college. If this proposal is enacted this year, 128,500 graduating high school seniors will receive a scholarship to help finance their college education.
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Proposing a $2 billion, five-year Technology Literacy Challenge to link every classroom in America to the Information Superhighway by the year 2000. The Challenge will stimulate state, local and private-sector efforts to provide all children with greater opportunity to learn the skills they need to thrive in the next century. The Technology Literacy Challenge will ensure that local innovation keeps U.S. schools on the leading edge of learning technologies.
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Proposing his “America Reads” Challenge to ensure that every child in American can read independently by the end of the third grade. The Presidentís new initiative helps parents, as their childrenís first teachers, and the entire community, to invest in reading success. The President and his Administration will mobilize 1 million community volunteer tutors, expand Head Start, and challenge both the non-profit and private sectors to help our children read.
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Supporting public school choice. President Clinton believes that information, competition and choice among public schools should be the rule, not the exception.
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Calling for increased parental involvement in their children’s education. President Clinton believes that parents are and should continue to be their children’s first and most important teachers. He is calling on all 50 states to pass laws to provide for the creation of charter schools—public schools created and managed by parents, teachers and administrators to provide greater flexibility.
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Challenging every high-school student in the country to make a commitment to community service. The President is asking all high schools to make service part of their basic ethic and to raise $500 to reward a high school student who has done significant work to help his or her community. The federal government will then match the $500 to help that student go on to college.
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Proposing to extend permanently the Section 127 exclusion for employer-provided educational assistance. The section, which expired in 1994, allowed employees to exclude employer-provided educational assistance from their taxable income. In addition, the President has proposed allowing small businesses a 10% tax credit for amounts paid for employee education and training under a Section 127 program.

Meeting Our Challenges * Protecting Our Values



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