THE WHITE HOUSE|
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
June 3, 2000
RADIO ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT
TO THE NATION
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Earlier this week, I attended a summit
with European leaders to focus on the opportunities and challenges of
the new economy. One of those changes, clearly, is bridging the digital
divide and helping all our people make the most of technology's promise.
Today, I want to talk with you about new steps our administration is
taking to help America's students and teachers do just that.
I'm proud of the progress we've made over the last seven years to
expand access to technology in our schools. In 1994, only 35 percent
of our schools had any Internet connection; today, 95 percent do. In
1994, only 3 percent of our classrooms were actually connected to the
Today, thanks in large part to the e-rate program championed by
Vice President Gore, 95 percent of our schools, as I said, are wired;
but, now, 63 percent of our classrooms have an Internet connection.
That's a very big step.
But there's more to do, and it's about more than computers and
connections. Access is important, but it's only a means to an end.
The ultimate purpose of computers in the classroom is to boost student
performance and help children learn. That can only happen if teachers
have the best training to make the most of this technology.
Today, two out of three teachers with access to a computer say they
don't feel well-prepared to use it in class. We owe it to America's
children to help their teachers become as comfortable with a computer as
they are with a chalk board. And we must start early. With rising
student enrollment and teacher retirements, America will need more than
2 million new teachers over the next 10 years. We have to make sure
every one of them can use a computer to help students meet high
standards. We're taking steps to do that.
Earlier this year, the deans of over 200 colleges of education
committed to work with our administration to meet this goal. Today, I'm
announcing $128 million in new, three-year technology grants to help
tomorrow's teacher prepare 21st century students. We're awarding 122
grants to teacher colleges and other partners in every region of the
country. These resources will train new teachers to use technology to
improve student achievement.
A grant to Western Michigan University, for example, will be used
to build partnerships with business leaders and local school districts
to help future teachers use technology in the classroom. San Diego
State University is receiving a grant to develop advanced technologies
to improve student reading and teach educators throughout California.
Combined with past grants, today's awards will help train as many
as 600,000 new teachers nationwide. My budget for the coming year
doubles our investment in quality technology training to reach a million
teachers by 2004.
Unfortunately, so far, Congress has failed to provide the resources
to meet that target. The House budget would deny hundreds of thousands
of future teachers the training they need to use technology to help
students meet challenging academic standards. Their budget also denies
the funding I requested to create up to a thousand new community
technology centers to help young people and adults gain critical
In too many ways, the education budget making its way through
Congress simply doesn't make the grade. It invests too little in our
schools and demands too little from them. In order to pay for large and
irresponsible tax breaks, it fails to address some of our schools most
pressing needs -- from increasing accountability to building and
modernizing schools to improving teacher quality and reducing class
In this time of unprecedented prosperity, there is no reason to
short-change our children and our schools. So I ask Congress again to
pass a budget that reflects our values and puts education first; a
budget that strengthens accountability and helps turn around
low-performing schools; reduces class size and increases after-school
opportunities; closes the digital divide and opens doors to help
disadvantaged children gear up for college; rebuilds crumbling schools
and boosts teacher quality.
If Congress sends me a budget that fails that test, I'll have to
veto it. But I hope Congress will work with me to pass balanced,
responsible budget increases to invest in our children and their future.
Instead of widening the divide in technology and education, we can widen
the circle of opportunity for every American. And now is the time to
get this done.
Thanks for listening.