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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Clinton talks education ahead of Tuesday vote

clinton

FALLS CHURCH, Virginia (CNN) -- President Bill Clinton Saturday renewed his quest for more congressional attention to the nation's public schools, calling on Americans to vote on Tuesday for a Congress that will "strengthen education and strengthen our nation for the 21st century."

In his weekly radio address, delivered live from an elementary school in Falls Church, Virginia, Clinton said there was an urgent need for school construction -- an administration proposal that the Republican-led Congress has repeatedly turned down.

"In fact, I'm speaking to you from one of nine trailer classrooms that sit outside the schoolhouse on what used to be a playground because there's simply not enough room inside for all the students," said the president.

"Too many children are going to school every day in trailers like this one. In other schools, classes are held in gymnasiums and cafeterias. I've even heard some stories of classes being held in closets," he said.

While Clinton applauded last week's budget funding that includes a commitment for 100,000 new teachers, Clinton questioned how they would be able to teach.

"You don't have to be a math whiz to know that more teachers and smaller classes means we also need more classrooms," he said. "Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in Congress failed the simple test to pass my school construction initiative, to help communities build, repair and modernize 5,000 schools around our country."

Clinton also spoke about the lack of legislation that would raise academic standards and strengthen accountability in schools, noting that there were some Republicans who would go so far as to shut down the Department of Education.

"Now, in just a few days, Americans will go to the polls to elect the next Congress, and there's a lot at stake. Our children don't need another two years of partisanship. They need two years of progress, of putting people over politics," he said.

"And we need a Congress that doesn't retreat from our commitment to hire a hundred thousand teachers. A Congress that makes a commitment to modern schools, so those teachers can teach in classrooms, not in trailers," said Clinton.



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Saturday, October 31, 1998

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