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Clinton asks Congress to triple funding for after-school programs

January 7, 1999
Web posted at: 6:17 p.m. EST (2317 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bill Clinton will ask Congress to triple the amount of money devoted to popular after-school and summer school programs, which his administration credits with improving students' grades and cutting juvenile crime.

Clinton

Clinton's proposal would put $600 million into the 21st Century Learning Center Program, which now gets $200 million. The program -- popular with congressional Republicans as well as Democrats -- provides funds to schools to operate after-school and summer school programs that reach 1.1 million children.

Clinton made the announcement Thursday, barely two hours after the Senate ceremonially opened his impeachment trial. Clinton did not address impeachment during the White House event.

"Everybody just gets one chance. Everyone has just one life," Clinton said. "This is about letting people make the most of that one life.

"Because of these after-school programs, a million kids will have a better chance. That's really what this is all about," he added.

But Clinton tied the money to schools' abandonment of social promotion policies. The administration seeks to persuade schools to advance students on academic performance and not on age.

A district would have to show it requires students to demonstrate they have met each grade's academic standards before being promoted, or that it has after-school tutoring and mandatory summer school to ensure students are learning.

The administration says the program has reduced juvenile crime and improved academic achievement. Its estimates indicate 28 million school-age children have both parents or their only parent in the work force.

At least 5 million of those children are left home alone after school. Studies show that half of violent juvenile crime occurs between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., when children are unsupervised and more likely to experiment with alcohol, other drugs and sex.

"We know the majority of schools have not kept pace with new family patterns," Clinton said. "On any given day as many as 15 million children are left to fend for themselves at home. On any given day, when school lets out, juvenile crime goes up."

The program's budget has grown rapidly since its inception in 1997 with $1 million. Congress appropriated $40 million for the program in 19998 and $200 million this year.

The president would pay for the increase through unspecified spending cuts in other areas, which will be outlined in next month's budget proposal to Congress.


RELATED STORIES

Clinton talks education ahead of Tuesday vote (October-31-98)

Clinton lauds budget deal, rips Republicans (10-16-98)

Clinton pushes education agenda (9-8-98)


RELATED SITES

U.S. Department of Education (ED) Home Page

Welcome To The White House

Office of the Press Secretary - Remarks by the President on Education



MORE STORIES:

Thursday January 7, 1999

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