Bill Clinton photo

Proclamation 6578—National Literacy Day, 1993 and 1994

July 02, 1993

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

America is a grand and prosperous Nation. We enjoy the highest standard of living of any major nation, and we lead the world in many other aspects. For instance, many of the greatest educational institutions in the world are American. However, despite this success - or maybe because of it - Americans take many things for granted. Our relative wealth has often led us to neglect the basic strengths on which this Nation was founded and has prospered. One of these strengths is an education level for all Americans adequate to support a productive work force, strong family structures, and a responsible citizenry.

Literacy is fundamental for all facets of life, yet there are approximately 27 million adults who lack the most fundamental skills necessary to survive and succeed in our society. It is my goal as President of the United States to give all Americans the opportunity to learn to read, write, and develop basic skills. National Literacy Day provides us a time to reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that all Americans possess the basic reading and math skills on which all further learning must be built.

The fifth National Education Goal calls for every American, by the year 2000, to possess the knowledge and skills necessary to compete in a global economy. That goal highlights one critical fact of life: The world of work is changing rapidly. Americans, and especially young Americans,will never succeed in tomorrow's economy with yesterday's skills. That is why we must have the courage to change our education system to face the challenges of the 21st century.

My Administration's education reform legislation, the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, establishes high academic and occupational standards, while providing support to States and communities to help them reach those standards. Fifty million Americans have no high school diploma, and half of those who do graduate do not go on to college. We must be sure that these Americans receive the education and training they need to compete in a high-wage, high-skill's economic climate.

Literacy is not a luxury. It is a right and a responsibility. It is hard for most of us to imagine functioning in our society without the ability to complete a job application or balance a checkbook. It is a disadvantage that is intolerable in a Nation dedicated to the principles of freedom and equality.

In recent years progress has been made toward a more widely literate society. States and communities, volunteer and religious organizations, businesses and labor organizations have all made invaluable contributions to raising public awareness and assisting undereducated adults. I applaud the good work that these groups have done, and I encourage them to join in a partnership with our Federal initiatives to completely erase American illiteracy by the year 2000.

To recognize the urgent need to increase literacy to ensure the future well-being of our country and all its citizens, the Congress, by House Joint Resolution 213, has designated July 2, 1993, and July 2, 1994, as "National Literacy Day" and has requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this day.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim July 2, 1993, and July 2, 1994, as "National Literacy Day."

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of July, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth.

Signature of William J. Clinton


William J. Clinton, Proclamation 6578—National Literacy Day, 1993 and 1994 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives