volunteering in your "hometown."
EDUCATION EXCERPTS from the President's 6th annual State of
the Union Address are below. The full text is on the White
House website at:
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As indicated in an EDInfo message earlier this week,
information on education initiatives mentioned in the State of
the Union address can be found on the Department's website:
Excerpts from President Clinton's 1998
State of the Union Address (January 27, 1998)
Ladies & gentlemen, the state of our Union is strong.
With barely 700 days left in the 20th century, this is not a time
to rest. It is a time to build, to build the America within reach:
an America where everybody has a chance to get ahead with hard
work; where every citizen can live in a safe community; where
families are strong, schools are good & all young people can go to
college; an America where scientists find cures for diseases from
diabetes to Alzheimer's to AIDS; an America where every child can
stretch a hand across a keyboard & reach every book ever written,
every painting ever painted, every symphony ever composed; where
government provides opportunity & citizens honor the responsibility
to give something back to their communities; an America which leads
the world to new heights of peace & prosperity.
This is the America we have begun to build; this is the America we
can leave to our children -- if we join together to finish the work
at hand. Let us strengthen our nation for the 21st century.
The Information Age is, first & foremost, an education age, in
which education must start at birth & continue throughout a
lifetime. Last year, from this podium, I said that education has
to be our highest priority. I laid out a 10-point plan to move us
forward & urged all of us to let politics stop at the schoolhouse
door. Since then, this Congress, across party lines, & the
American people have responded, in the most important year for
education in a generation -- expanding public school choice,
opening the way to 3,000 new charter schools, working to connect
every classroom in the country to the Information Superhighway,
committing to expand Head Start to a million children, launching
America Reads, sending literally thousands of college students into
our elementary schools to make sure all our 8-year-olds can read.
Last year I proposed, & you passed, 220,000 new Pell Grant
scholarships for deserving students. Student loans, already less
expensive & easier to repay -- now you get to deduct the interest.
Families all over America now can put their savings into new tax-
free education IRAs. And this year, for the first two years of
college, families will get a $1,500 tax credit -- a HOPE
Scholarship that will cover the cost of most community college
tuition. And for junior & senior year, graduate school, & job
training, there is a lifetime learning credit. You did that & you
should be very proud of it.
And because of these actions, I have something to say to every
family listening to us tonight: Your children can go on to college.
If you know a child from a poor family, tell her not to give up --
she can go on to college. If you know a young couple struggling
with bills, worried they won't be able to send their children to
college, tell them not to give up -- their children can go on to
college. If you know somebody who's caught in a dead-end job &
afraid he can't afford the classes necessary to get better jobs for
the rest of his life, tell him not to give up -- he can go on to
college. Because of the things that have been done, we can make
college as universal in the 21st century as high school is today.
And, my friends, that will change the face & future of America.
We have opened wide the doors of the world's best system of higher
education. Now we must make our public elementary & secondary
schools the world's best as well by raising standards, raising
expectations, & raising accountability.
Thanks to the actions of this Congress last year, we will soon
have, for the very first time, a voluntary national test based on
national standards in 4th grade reading & 8th grade math. Parents
have a right to know whether their children are mastering the
basics. And every parent already knows the key: good teachers &
Tonight, I propose the first ever national effort to reduce class
size in the early grades.
My balanced budget will help to hire 100,000 new teachers who have
passed a state competency test. Now, with these teachers -- listen
-- with these teachers, we will actually be able to reduce class
size in the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd grades to an average of 18 students a
class, all across America.
If I've got the math right, more teachers teaching smaller classes
requires more classrooms. So I also propose a school construction
tax cut to help communities modernize or build 5,000 schools.
We must also demand greater accountability. When we promote a
child from grade to grade who hasn't mastered the work, we don't do
that child any favors. It is time to end social promotion in
Last year, in Chicago, they made that decision -- not to hold our
children back, but to lift them up. Chicago stopped social
promotion, & started mandatory summer school, to help students who
are behind to catch up. I propose to help other communities follow
Chicago's lead. Let's say to them: Stop promoting children who
don't learn, & we will give you the tools to make sure they do.
I also ask this Congress to support our efforts to enlist colleges
& universities to reach out to disadvantaged children, starting in
the 6th grade, so that they can get the guidance & hope they need
so they can know that they, too, will be able to go on to college.
We should also offer help & hope to those Americans temporarily
left behind by the global marketplace or by the march of
technology, which may have nothing to do with trade. That's why we
have more than doubled funding for training dislocated workers
since 1993 -- & if my new budget is adopted, we will triple
funding. That's why we must do more, & more quickly, to help
workers who lose their jobs for whatever reason.
You know, we help communities in a special way when their military
base closes. We ought to help them in the same way if their
factory closes. Again, I ask the Congress to continue its
bipartisan work to consolidate the tangle of training programs we
have today into one single G.I. Bill for Workers, a simple skills
grant so people can, on their own, move quickly to new jobs, to
higher incomes & brighter futures.
Child care is the next frontier we must face to enable people to
succeed at home & at work. Last year, I co-hosted the very first
White House Conference on Child Care with one of our foremost
experts, America's First Lady. From all corners of America, we
heard the same message, without regard to region or income or
political affiliation: We've got to raise the quality of child
care. We've got to make it safer. We've got to make it more
So here's my plan: Help families to pay for child care for a
million more children. Scholarships & background checks for child
care workers, & a new emphasis on early learning. Tax credits for
businesses that provide child care for their employees. And a
larger child care tax credit for working families. Now, if you
pass my plan, what this means is that a family of four with an
income of $35,000 & high child care costs will no longer pay a
single penny of federal income tax.
I think this is such a big issue with me because of my own personal
experience. I have often wondered how my mother, when she was a
young widow, would have been able to go away to school & get an
education & come back & support me if my grandparents hadn't been
able to take care of me. She & I were really very lucky. How many
other families have never had that same opportunity? The truth is,
we don't know the answer to that question. But we do know what the
answer should be: Not a single American family should ever have to
choose between the job they need & the child they love.
A society rooted in responsibility must provide safe streets, safe
schools, & safe neighborhoods. We pursued a strategy of more
police, tougher punishment, smarter prevention, with crime-fighting
partnerships with local law enforcement & citizen groups, where the
rubber hits the road. I can report to you tonight that it's
working. Violent crime is down, robbery is down, assault is down,
burglary is down -- for five years in a row, all across America.
We need to finish the job of putting 100,000 more police on our
Again, I ask Congress to pass a juvenile crime bill that provides
more prosecutors & probation officers, to crack down on gangs &
guns & drugs, & bar violent juveniles from buying guns for life.
And I ask you to dramatically expand our support for after-school
programs. I think every American should know that most juvenile
crime is committed between the hours of 3:00 in the afternoon &
8:00 at night. We can keep so many of our children out of trouble
in the first place if we give them someplace to go other than the
streets, & we ought to do it.
Drug use is on the decline. I thank General McCaffrey for his
leadership. And I thank this Congress for passing the largest
antidrug budget in history. I ask you to join me in a ground-
breaking effort to hire 1,000 new border patrol agents & to deploy
the most sophisticated available new technologies to help close the
door on drugs at our borders.
We should enable all the world's people to explore the far reaches
of cyberspace. Think of this -- the first time I made a State of
the Union speech to you, only a handful of physicists used the
World Wide Web. Literally, just a handful of people. Now, in
schools, in libraries, homes & businesses, millions & millions of
Americans surf the Net every day. We must give parents the tools
they need to help protect their children from inappropriate
material on the Internet. But we also must make sure that we
protect the exploding global commercial potential of the Internet.
We can do the kinds of things that we need to do & still protect
For one thing, I ask Congress to step up support for building the
next generation Internet. It's getting kind of clogged, you know.
And the next generation Internet will operate at speeds up to a
thousand times faster than today.
And this October, a true American hero, a veteran pilot of 149
combat missions & one, five-hour space flight that changed the
world, will return to the heavens. Godspeed, John Glenn. John,
you will carry with you America's hopes. And on your uniform, once
again, you will carry America's flag, marking the unbroken
connection between the deeds of America's past & the daring of
Nearly 200 years ago, a tattered flag, its broad stripes & bright
stars still gleaming through the smoke of a fierce battle, moved
Francis Scott Key to scribble a few words on the back of an
envelope -- the words that became our national anthem. Today, that
Star Spangled Banner, along with the Declaration of Independence,
the Constitution & the Bill of Rights, are on display just a short
walk from here. They are America's treasures & we must also save
them for the ages.
I ask all Americans to support our project to restore all our
treasures so that the generations of the 21st century can see for
themselves the images & the words that are the old & continuing
glory of America; an America that has continued to rise through
every age, against every challenge, of people of great works &
greater possibilities, who have always, always found the wisdom &
strength to come together as one nation -- to widen the circle of
opportunity, to deepen the meaning of our freedom, to form that
"more perfect union." Let that be our gift to the 21st century.
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