PREPARING AMERICANS FOR THE 21st CENTURY
For the past six years, the President has worked hard to ensure that all Americans have the tools they need for the 21st Century. Education and training have been the cornerstone of the Administration's efforts. The Clinton Administration has launched new initiatives and built on existing programs to: provide children in the early grades with the attention and instruction they need to acquire fundamental skills; enable all students to reach their full potential; make available resources to pay for postsecondary education to all who need them; ensure that those who need another chance at education and training get those opportunities; and ensure that States and communities receiving Federal funds can use them more flexibly with fewer regulations and less paperwork. The President's FY 2000 budget builds on these efforts and includes the following:
INVESTING IN EDUCATION:
· Performance Accountability: President Clinton is calling for tough new accountability measures for federal elementary and secondary education programs, in order to ensure that every child is helped to reach challenging academic standards. The budget provides $200 million in Title I to hold States and school districts more accountable for raising student achievement. States will use these resources to identify and fix their lowest performing schools through a variety of approaches. These corrective actions, based on a careful assessment of each school's particular needs, would include steps such as the provision of extra help to students after school, extensive teacher training, support to improve school discipline, the implementation of proven approaches to school reform and, if necessary, bringing in new management and staff.
· Expanding After-School Opportunities: The President proposes to triple funding for the 21st Century Learning Center Program, which supports the creation and expansion of after-school and summer school programs throughout the country. Experts agree that school-age children who are unsupervised during the hours after school are far more likely to use alcohol, drugs, and tobacco, commit crimes, receive poor grades, and drop out of school than those who are involved in supervised, constructive activities. In awarding these new funds, priority will be given to school districts with comprehensive policies in place to end social promotion . After-school and summer school programs are critical tools in ending social promotion because they give students who are not on track an opportunity to get extra helps so they can meet promotion standards. The President's budget provides $600 million for the 21st Century/After-School program, an increase of $400 million over FY 1999 levels to reach approximately 7,500 schools and provide services to over 1.1 million students.
· New Qualified Teachers and Smaller Class Sizes: The budget provides $1.4 billion as the second installment of the President's plan to help schools recruit, hire, and train 100,000 new teachers by 2005 and reduce class size in the early grades. In further support of recruiting and training teachers, the budget provides $115 million to help improve the quality of teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities, which includes $35 million for teacher recruitment grants to provide scholarships and other support for 7,000 prospective teachers who commit to teach in high-poverty schools. The budget also includes $18 million to expand the Troops to Teachers program, and $10 million to train and recruit 1,000 new Native American teachers over the next five years.
· New Classrooms and Modernized Schools: A centerpiece of the President's tax cut agenda is to provide Federal tax credits to pay interest on nearly $25 billion in bonds to build and renovate public schools. Two types of bonds are being proposed: School Modernization Bonds ($22.4 billion) and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds ($2.4 billion). $400 million of the school modernization bonds will go to tribes or tribal organizations for the construction and renovation of BIA funded schools. The tax credits on these bonds will cost the Treasury a total of $3.7 billion over 5 years.
· Expanding Public School Choice: The President's budget firmly supports expanding public school choice through its Charter Schools, Magnet Schools and Satellite Work-Site Schools initiatives. The Clinton Administration is continuing its efforts to help teachers, parents and community groups start public charter schools -- innovative public schools that stay open only as long as they produce results. The budget includes $130 million in public charter school funding, $114 million for Magnet Schools, and $10 million for the Satellite Work-Site Schools.
· Education Technology: The budget ensures the teachers will be able to integrate technology effectively into their instruction by providing: $450 million for the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund; $65 million for Community-Based Technology Centers; $75 million for the Pre-Service Teacher Training in Technology initiative; and $30 million for a new Middle School Teacher Training initiative to train technology experts. Plus, $1.3 billion will be made available through the education rate or E-rate program which was created under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and which provides discounts for schools and libraries to buy high-speed Internet access, internal wiring, and telecommunications services.
· America Reads/Reading Excellence: Two years ago, the President launched the America Reads Challenge, a multi-faceted effort to help States and communities ensure that all children can read well and independently by the end of third grade. This budget builds upon last year's commitment of $260 million by proposing and investment of $286 million to continue this program in 2000. The funds help train reading tutors and coordinate after-school, weekend, and summer reading programs linked to in-school instruction; help train teachers to teach reading; and help parents help children prepare to learn to read.
· Pell Grants: The budget provides over $7 billion to raise the Pell maximum award to $3,250, a $125 increase over 1999 and it will reach nearly four million low-income undergraduates.
· Work-Study: The budget proposes $934 million for the Work-Study program, a $64 million increase over the 1999 level. This level provides enough funding to meet the President's goal of providing one million students the opportunity to work their way through college by 2000.
CLOSING THE SKILLS GAP:
In Putting People First, candidates Bill Clinton and Al Gore outlined a vision for lifelong learning, stating that workers should be "able to choose advanced skills training, the chance to earn a high school diploma, or the opportunity to learn to read. And we will streamline the confusing array of publicly funded training programs." Last year, President Clinton signed the Workforce Investment Act transforming the job training system by streamlining services and empowering workers with a simple skills grant so that they can choose the training they need. However, more work needs to be done. On average, employers report that one out of every five of their workers is not fully proficient in his or her job and in manufacturing, 88 percent of companies are having trouble finding qualified applicants for at least one job function.
The President's Budget Includes a Comprehensive Package to Help Us Educate and Train American Workers to Fill the Jobs of the 21st Century. This comprehensive strategy has three parts:
1. An Adult Education and Family Literacy Initiative: Today, 44 million adults struggle with a job application, cannot read to their children, or cannot fully participate in our economic and civic life because they lack basic skills or English proficiency. The goal of the Adult Literacy initiative is to bring Presidential leadership and focus to a pressing national problem by demanding improvements in the quality of adult basic education programs and increasing funding to help States both meet the new quality goals and serve more people. This initiative includes:
· $95 Million Increase -- to $468 Million -- to Expand Adult Education State Grants and Challenge State and Local Governments to Join Us in Dramatically Increasing Program Quality: By the year 2005 the President's goal is for the Nation as a whole to: Increase the number of full-time teachers by 20%; Double the number of instructional hours per student; Triple the number of computer stationsavailable at adult education centers; And more than double the amount of child care and counseling services offered in Federal, State, and local adult education programs.
· $70 Million for an English Literacy/Civics Initiative: This initiative provides competitive grants to States and communities for expanded access to high quality English language instruction linked to practical instruction in civics and life skills including how to navigate the workplace, public education system, and other essentials.
· $23 Million for "America Learns Technology": One of the important keys to higher quality adult education is effective use of advanced technology. This initiative will increase access to technology for adult learners by supporting high quality software, pilot projects in 40 communities, and advanced research and development.
· $2 Million for a "High Skills Communities" Campaign: The President's campaign will mobilize States and local communities to implement strategies to promote adult education and lifelong learning. Part of this initiative will provide up to 10 communities $50,000 awards annually for achieving concrete results so that other communities know what works and what doesn't work.
· 10% Workplace Education Tax Credit: Employers who provide certain workplace literacy, English language instruction, and basic education programs will be allowed a 10 percent income tax credit for eligible educational expenses, with a maximum credit of $525 per participating employee per year.
2. A Universal Re-Employment Initiative: The President's FY2000 budget makes a five-year commitment to our Nation's reformed job training system. Specifically, President Clinton proposes to put us on a path that ensures that within five years (1) all displaced workers will receive the job training they want and need; (2) all people who lose their jobs due to no fault of their own will get the re-employment services they need; and (3) all Americans will have access to One-Stop Career Centers. This initiative includes:
· $190 Million Increase In Dislocated Worker Program to Put Us On Track To Ensure Every Dislocated Worker Gets The Training They Need: Since 1993, dislocated worker funding has been expanded by 171 percent -- helping to serve 689,100 this year, well more than double the 306,300 workers served in 1993. The President's FY2000 budget increases funding for the dislocated worker program by $190 million -- helping to serve an additional 169,400 workers this year. This would put us on path to ensuring every dislocated worker can get the job training he or she needs.
· Expansion of Employment Service To Put Us on Path To Ensure Every Person Who Loses Their Job Due to No Fault of Their Own Gets the Re-Employment Services They Need: Today, many workers do not get the job search assistance or other types of re-employment services they need. Therefore, the President's FY2000 budget expands the budget of the Employment Service (ES) to put us on a path to serve within five years the 1.4 million people who lost their job due to no fault of their own and do not receive the re-employment services they need.
· Providing Every American Access To One-Stop Career Centers -- Helping Americans Informed Decisions About Their Futures: As part of the Workforce Investment Act, every area of the country will have a One-Stop Career Center. Now, we must ensure every American has access to the information available at the One-Stops. The President's budget does just that -- providing $65 million to take the following steps:
- First, the President's budget will put in place a system so that the unemployed get job leads the moment they apply for Unemployment Insurance -- transforming our unemployment system into a re-employment system.
- Second, the plan will create a nationwide toll-free telephone system so that all workers will be able to find out what services are available and where they can go to receive them. Every American will have universal access to the services and programs available through One-Stop Career Centers.
- Third, the plan will ensure that workers will be able to get job search information at 4,000 Community-Based Organizations.
- Fourth, the plan will create 100 new mobile One-Stop Career Centers -- designed to bring the information and services to rural residents and help the Labor Department's existing rapid response teams provide workers the information they need to get back to work.
- Fifth, the plan will include funds to help the disabled and the blind benefit from One-Stop Career Centers, including a talking America's Job Bank (AJB), which will be developed in conjunction with the National Federation for the Blind.
3. Disadvantaged Youth Initiatives: Dealing with the problems of at-risk youth is one of the major challenges facing the Nation. In December 1998, the national unemployment rate was just 4.3 percent -- the lowest peacetime level in 41 years. However, while the unemployment rate among African-American teens (aged 16-19) also reached its lowest peacetime level in four decades, it was still 6.5 times higher than the national average and much higher than the rate for white youth. The goal of the youth employment initiative is to fund promising approaches to increase the educational attainment and employment rates of disadvantaged youth. In addition to an increase in JobCorps and another $250 million investment in Youth Opportunity Areas, this initiative includes:
· YouthBuild Expanded by More than 75 Percent: The FY2000 budget expands YouthBuild by $32.5 million -- more than 75 percent. This means that we will provide $75 million for the YouthBuild program that provides disadvantaged young adults with education and employment skills by rehabilitating and building housing for low-income and homeless people.
· New $100 Million "Right-Track" Partnership To Reduce Drop-Out Rate: The President's balanced budget provides $100 million for "Right Track Partnerships" to promote partnerships between schools, employers, and community-based organizations that devise innovative community-wide approaches to increase the rate at which economically disadvantaged and limited-English proficient youth complete and excel in high school and subsequently increase the rate at which these youth go on to post-secondary education, training, and higher paying careers. This new proposal builds on last year's Hispanic Education Action Plan, which received nearly $500 million for FY1999.
· Doubles GEAR-UP for College Program: President Clinton's balanced budget doubles funding --from $120 million in FY99 to $240 million in FY2000 -- for the GEAR UP program that supports States and partnerships between high-poverty middle or junior high schools and colleges to help low-income children prepare for and enroll in college. In 2000, GEAR UP will reach 381,000 students.
· New $50 Million Regional Youth Employment Initiative: The President's balanced budget provides $50 million for a Regional Empowerment Zone Program to assist urban Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities (EZ/ECs) in linking their economic development strategies to their broader metropolitan regional economies in order to increase the employment of disadvantaged youth.
· $65 Million to Prepare Disadvantaged Youth for Success in College: The President's budget will include a $30 million increase in federal TRIO programs, including Upward Bound, to fund outreach, counseling, and educational support to help disadvantaged students prepare for academic success in college. The budget will also include $35 million for a new initiative to help disadvantaged students stay in college and earn diplomas.