National Education Agenda to Help Students

After vetoing a congressional budget that would have denied funding to priority education investments, President Clinton delivered an ambitious education agenda. Some of the initiatives in the President’s budget include plans to increase education technology, to diminish class sizes, to provide for school construction, and to increase public school choice through charter schools.

The final budget triples funding for community technology centers to reach at least 120 low-income communities. It will also provide $75 million to train new teachers in the use of technology, and $425 million to states and school districts to purchase computer hardware and educational software. President Clinton’s budget also provides $1.3 billion for class size reduction, enough to hire 100,000 teachers over the next six years.

In his State of the Union address, President Clinton insisted that all states and school districts must turn around their worst-performing schools, or shut them down. The final bill provides $134 million in Title I funds to help turn around the worst-performing schools and hold them accountable for results.

In addition, the final budget extends Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs) through 2001. QZABs provide no-interest loans to needy school districts to fund certain expenditures on rehabilitation and repairs, educational equipment, curriculum development and teacher training. QZABs have been used to purchase computers and develop technology-based curricula, renovate and repair a charter school, and purchase computer software and hardware to develop literacy programs.

This article originally appeared in the 01/01/2000 issue of THE Journal.