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"So tonight, I issue a call to action -- action by this Congress, by our
states, by all our people, to prepare America for the 21st century. Action
to keep our economy and our democracy strong and working for all our people;
action to strengthen education and harness the forces of technology and
science; action to bring stronger families and stronger communities and a
safer environment; action to keep America the world's strongest force for
peace and freedom and prosperity. And above all, action to build a more
perfect union here at home."
"I have a plan, a call to action for American education, based on these 10
First, a national crusade for education standards -- not federal government
standards, but national standards representing what all of our students must
know to succeed in the knowledge economy of the 21st century. Every state
and school must shape the curriculum to reflect these standards and train
teachers to lift students up to meet them. To help schools meet the
standards and measure their progress, we will lead an effort over the next
two years to develop national tests of student achievement in reading and
Tonight, I issue a challenge to the nation: Every state should adopt high
national standards, and by 1999 every state should test every fourth-grader
in reading and every eighth-grader in math to make sure these standards are
"Second, to have the best schools, we must have the best teachers. Most of
us would not be here tonight without the help of such teachers. I know I
wouldn't be. For years, many educators, led by North Carolina's Gov. Jim
hunt and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, have worked
hard to establish nationally accepted credentials for excellence in teaching.
Just 500 of these master teachers have been certified since 1995. My budget
will enable 100,000 more to seek national certification as master teachers.
We should reward our best teachers, quickly and fairly remove those few who
don't measure up, and challenge our finest young people to consider teaching
as a career."
"An tonight, I am pleased that 60 college presidents have answered my call,
pledging that thousands of their work-study students will serve for one year
as reading tutors.
"Tenth: We must bring the power of the Information Age into all our schools.
Last year , I challenged America to connect every classroom and library to
the Internet by the year 2000, so that, for the first time in history, a
child in the most isolated rural town, the most comfortable suburb, the
poorest inner-city school, will have the same access to the same universe of
knowledge. I as your support to complete this historic mission.
That is my plan -- a call to action for American Schools"
"We must build the second generation of the Internet so our leading
universities and national libraries can communicate at speeds 1,000 times
faster than today, to develop new medical treatments, new sources of energy
and new ways of working together.
But we cannot stop there. As the Internet becomes our new town square, a
computer in every home -- a teacher of all subjects, a connection to all
cultures -- this will no longer be a dream, but a necessity. And over the
next decade, that must be our goal. "
"I'd like to make one last point about our national community. Our economy
is measured in numbers and statistics, and it''s very important. But the
enduring worth of our nation lies in our values and our soaring spirit. so
instead of cutting back on our modest efforts to support the arts and
humanities, I believe we should stand by them and challenge our artists,
musicians and writers, our museums, libraries and theaters, to join with all
Americans to make the year 2000 a national celebration of our common culture
in the century that has passed, and in the new one to come in the new
millennium, so that we can remain the world's beacon of liberty and
creativity, long after the fireworks have faded."
"A few days before my second inauguration, one of America's best known
pastors, Rev. Robert Schuller, suggested that I read Isaiah 58:12. It says:
'Thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations, and thou shalt be
called, the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.' I
placed my hand on that verse when I took the oath of office, on behalf of all
all Americans. For no matter what our differences -- in our faiths, our
backgrounds, our politics -- we must all be repairers of the breach"
"We don't have a moment to waste. Tomorrow morning, there will be just over
1,000 days until the year 2000; 1,000 days to prepare our people; 1,000 days
to work together. My fellow Americans, we have work to do. Let us seize the
days and the century."